FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- More Fairfield County towns are seeing mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile virus, with Bridgeport, Darien, and New Canaan joining the growing number of towns where infected mosquitoes have been trapped.
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station had announced last week that mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus had been caught in Greenwich, Stamford, Stratford and Westport. Infected mosquitoes have now been caught in a total of 20 towns.
The other towns include: Branford, Farmington, Glastonbury, Guilford, Middlefield, New Haven, North Branford, North Stonington, Orange, Plainfield, South Windsor, West Hartford and West Haven.
"We are seeing rapid build-up of West Nile virus within the mosquito population especially in Fairfield and New Haven counties with spread into new regions including Hartford County, said Dr. Philip Armstrong, medical entomologist at the CAES. "We are also detecting the virus more frequently in human-biting mosquitoes which substantially increases the risk of infection."
No human cases or horse cases have been reported with WNV-associated illnesses acquired in Connecticut this season, according to the CAES. A total of 131 human cases of WNV illness, including three fatalities, have been diagnosed in Connecticut residents since 2000.
"The continued warm humid weather enhances mosquito biting activity and heightens the risk of acquiring West Nile virus infection," said Dr. Theodore Andreadis, director of the CAES. "We 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."
To reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitos, the CAES recommends that residents:
- Minimize time spent outdoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitos 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.
The CAES maintains a network of 91 mosquito-trapping stations in 72 municipalities throughout the state. Mosquito traps are set Monday through Thursday nights at each site every 10 days on a rotating basis. Mosquitoes are grouped for testing according to species, collection site, and date. Positive findings are reported to local health departments and on the CAES website here .
For information on West Nile and eastern equine encephalitis viruses and how to prevent mosquito bites, visit the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program website .
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