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Fairfield, Westport Mosquitoes Test Positive For West Nile Virus

Mosquitoes in Fairfield have tested positive for the West Nile virus, the town Health Department said Tuesday.
Mosquitoes in Fairfield have tested positive for the West Nile virus, the town Health Department said Tuesday. Photo Credit: Flickr user dr_relling

FAIRFIELD/WESTPORT, Conn. - Mosquitoes trapped in Fairfield and Westport have tested positive for the West Nile virus, officials in both towns announced Tuesday.

"We want to encourage residents to reduce their risk of mosquito-borne illnesses by taking the appropriate precautions," said Sands Cleary, director of health for Fairfield.

Mark A.R. Cooper, director of the Westport Weston Health District, said he was not surprised a mosquito trapped in Westport had tested positive for the virus.

“Many towns around Westport also have had mosquitoes that have tested positive, and it was only a matter of time,” Cooper said in a statement. “It happens every year around this time.”

West Nile-positive mosquitoes have also been found in Greenwich, Norwalk and Stamford.

Although no people have been infected with the virus so far this year, both health departments urged residents to take precautions against mosquito bites. If you have to be outside at dawn and dusk, the times when mosquito activity is highest, wear pants and long-sleeve shirts and use insect repellent.

People infected with the virus could become ill and experience mild symptoms, including: fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting or a skin rash. Less frequently, people develop a severe illness of the nervous system that can include: include neck stiffness, disorientation, loss of consciousness, tremors, muscle weakness and paralysis. People older than 50 are more likely to develop serious illness than younger people.

In addition to minimizing skin exposure, residents can reduce the likelihood of contracting West Nile by eliminating areas of standing water, which mosquitoes are attracted to. For example, residents should empty items such as bird baths, unused pools, buckets, boats, roof gutters and other items that collect water.

For more information on the West Nile virus or mosquitoes, visit the Fairfield Health Department website or the Westport Weston Health District website.

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