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First Human Case Of West Nile Reported In Connecticut For This Season

The West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes in 26 towns in Connecticut this year.
The West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes in 26 towns in Connecticut this year. Photo Credit: File

A resident of New Haven who required hospitalization has been confirmed to have this year's first human case of West Nile virus in the state, the Connecticut Department of Public Health announced Friday.

The patient, who is 50 to 59 years old, became ill during the last week of August and was hospitalized with high fever, dehydration and confusion, DPH said. Laboratory tests confirmed the presence of antibodies to WNV in the patient’s cerebrospinal fluid.

"The identification of a Connecticut resident with West Nile virus associated illness that required hospitalization underscores the potential seriousness of the infection," said DPH Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino. "Using insect repellent, covering bare skin and avoiding being outdoors during the hours of dusk and dawn are effective ways to help keep you from being bitten by mosquitoes."

West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes in the state every year since 1999.

In 2017, WNV has been detected in mosquitoes collected at trap sites in 26 towns, including these in Fairfield County: Bridgeport, Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Redding, Shelton, Stamford, Stratford and Westport.

WNV-positive mosquitoes have also been found upstate in Branford, Farmington, Glastonbury, Groton, Guilford, Middlefield, Milford, New Haven, North Branford, North Stonington, Orange, Plainfield, South Windsor, Voluntown, West Hartford and West Haven.

Mosquito trapping and testing began on June 5, with the first positive mosquitoes identified on June 29 in West Haven.

"We continue to have weather conditions that are favorable for the mosquitoes that transmit West Nile virus," said Dr. Philip Armstrong, medical entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment station. "These mosquitoes are most abundant in urban and suburban areas with dense human populations. West Nile virus positive mosquitoes were first identified in New Haven on Aug. 16."

Symptoms of West Nile virus include a slight fever, headache, rash, swollen lymph nodes, nausea, malaise and eye pain. But it can advance to a severe headache, high fever, stiff neck, disorientation, severe muscle weakness, gastrointestinal symptoms, coma or death.

Most people who are bitten by an infected mosquito are able to fight off infection and experience mild or no symptoms.

West Nile virus has been detected in Connecticut every year since 1999. Since 2000, there have been 131 human cases of West Nile in the state, with three fatalities.

For information on WNV and other mosquito-borne viruses and how to prevent mosquito bites, click here for the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program website. For more information on the state's mosquito-testing program, click here .

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