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Mosquitoes Test Positive For West Nile Virus In East Haven

Mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus were discovered in East Haven.
Mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus were discovered in East Haven. Photo Credit: Flickr user James Jordan

The mosquito season has officially arrived with the detection of West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes trapped in the area.

The State of Connecticut Mosquito Management Program announced on Thursday, August 1, that mosquitoes trapped in East Haven on July 30 tested positive for the virus.

The mosquitoes are the first in the state to test positive for the virus, causing health officials to remind residents to protect themselves from mosquito bites.

“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."

The department said they will continue to closely monitor mosquitoes for amplification, according to 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," he said.

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.

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 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.

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