An advisory has been issued in Fairfield County after there were new mosquito samples that tested positive for West Nile Virus in Stamford.
The Connecticut State Mosquito Management Program announced that mosquitos trapped in Stamford on Thursday, July 16 tested positive for the virus, prompting them to take action.
Following the positive samples, Stamford’s Department of Health began larviciding catch basins in the area to control the mosquito population, in addition to the larviciding the department has conducted since June to preemptively control the local mosquito population.
West Nile virus is the most common mosquito-borne viral disease in the country and reemerges every summer in Connecticut. One hundred fifty-seven human cases of West Nile virus, including four deaths, have been diagnosed in Connecticut residents since 2000.
“Effectively controlling mosquito-borne diseases requires a partnership between the Department of Health and Stamford’s community,” health officials said. "Homeowners and businesses are reminded to remove standing water, discard cans and bottles, and cut back all grass, bushes, and shrubbery on their properties.”
According to officials, “most people infected with West Nile virus will experience mild or no symptoms, but some can develop severe symptoms including high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness, and paralysis.”
“The symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent,” officials noted. “Individuals, especially those 50 years of age or older, or those with compromised immune systems, who are most at risk, are urged to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.”
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection,”The continued warm humid weather enhances mosquito biting activity and heightens the risk of acquiring West Nile virus and eastern equine encephalitis virus infection
"We will continue to monitor the situation closely with increased mosquito trapping and testing and urge residents throughout the entire state to take simple measures to avoid mosquito bites such as using mosquito repellent and covering bare skin, especially at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.”
Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds, according to health officials. The infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to humans and other animals. In humans,
West Nile Virus may cause a mild illness but may also cause encephalitis - inflammation of the brain - or meningitis - inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord.
Officials said that to avoid mosquito bites, one should:
- Minimize outdoor activities between dusk and dawn;
- Wear shoes and socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts when mosquitoes are active;
- Use mosquito repellent, following label directions carefully;
- Make sure all windows and doors have screens, and that all screens are in good repair;
- Keep mosquitoes from laying eggs inside and outside of your home. Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out containers that hold water, such as vases, pet water bowls, flowerpot saucers, discarded tires, buckets, pool covers, birdbaths, trash cans and rain barrels.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.