The State of Connecticut Mosquito Management Program (MMP) announced that mosquitoes trapped in East Haven on July 30 tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). These results represent the first WNV positive mosquitoes identified in the state by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) this year. Connecticut residents are reminded to protect themselves from mosquito bites and mosquito-borne diseases.
“The West Nile virus season has begun,” said Dr. Philip Armstrong, Medical Entomologist at the CAES. “We typically first detect West Nile virus in mosquitoes from late-June to mid-July so this year’s detection is later than usual. Nevertheless, virus activity can escalate very quickly and we anticipate further build-up of the virus from now through September.”
“We’ll continue to closely monitor mosquitoes for virus amplification” said Dr. Theodore Andreadis, Director of the CAES. “We encourage everyone to take simple measures such as wearing mosquito repellent and covering bare skin, especially during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.”
To reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes residents should:
Minimize time spent outdoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
Be sure door and window screens are tight-fitting and in good repair.
Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods of time, or when mosquitoes are more active. Clothing should be light colored and made of tightly woven materials that keep mosquitoes away from the skin.
Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in an unscreened structure and to protect small babies when outdoors.
Consider the use of mosquito repellent, according to directions, when it is necessary to be outdoors.
West Nile virus has been detected in the state every year since 1999. Last year, CAES detected higher than normal levels of WNV-infected mosquitoes with a total of 393 positive mosquito samples collected from 53 municipalities. The majority of WNV activity was detected in densely populated urban and suburban regions in Fairfield, Hartford and New Haven counties, consistent with prior years. Twenty-three human cases, with one fatality, were reported last year.
Connecticut Mosquito Management Program
The response to mosquito transmitted diseases in Connecticut is a collaborative inter-agency effort involving the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) the Department of Public Health (DPH), the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Pathobiology at the University of Connecticut (UCONN). These agencies are responsible for monitoring mosquito populations and the potential public health threat of mosquito-borne diseases.
The CAES maintains a network of 92 mosquito-trapping stations in 72 municipalities throughout the state. CAES begins mosquito trapping and testing in June and continues into October. Positive findings are reported to local health departments and on the CAES website at https://portal.ct.gov/caes.
For information on WNV and other mosquito-borne diseases, what can be done to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes, the latest mosquito test results and human infections, visit the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program web site at https://portal.ct.gov/mosquito.