FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — The discovery of West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes has become a ritual of the summer landscape in Fairfield County, and this year is no exception.
Mosquitoes carrying the potentially dangerous virus have been trapped recently in Bridgeport, Darien and Norwalk, said the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven. Those towns join Greenwich and Stamford on the list of affected area towns so far in 2015.
According to the latest data from the state, the mosquitoes were found in traps at:
- 2 on Brush Island Road in Darien;
- 1 at the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport;
- 5 on Barnum Boulevard in Bridgeport;
- 1 at the Eastern Civic Center in Old Greenwich;
- 1 at Cranbury Park in Norwalk; and
- 8 at Cove Island Park in Stamford.
"With summertime – on come the mosquitoes," the town of Darien said in a statement. "We love summer in Darien. Being outside, enjoying the beaches, long walks at sunset and lo and behold, those pesky bugs are here, too."
The mosquito trapping and testing program runs through October, with 91 mosquito-trapping stations in 72 municipalities throughout the state. Mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile have also been found in Chester, Guilford, New Haven, Stratford, Waterford and West Haven this year.
No human cases of West Nile have been reported in Connecticut this summer.
The West Nile virus is spread to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. Symptoms occur five to 15 days after the bite and can include fever, headache, rash, swollen lymph nodes, nausea, malaise and eye pain. Severe cases can cause severe headache, high fever, stiff neck, disorientation, severe muscle weakness and gastrointestinal symptoms. It is rare, but the virus can cause comas and even death.
To cut the risk of mosquitoes near your home, eliminate standing water where they can lay eggs, experts say. Common sources of mosquitoes around the home are:
- Containers that hold water, such as pails, paint cans or discarded tires;
- Boat or pool covers or tarps that collect rain water;
- Unmaintained bird baths or wading pools;
- Rain barrels and clogged roof gutters; and
- Rot holes in trees and stumps.
With mosquitoes most active around dawn and dusk, avoid outdoor activity during these peak times. Also, wear protective clothing such as long sleeves, long pants and a hat.
Many towns such as Norwalk and Greenwich have conducted larvicide application programs to cut down on mosquito populations. The larvicide is applied to storm drains, catch basins and other standing water locations to prevent mosquito eggs from hatching.
“Controlling the mosquito population in the larval stage through the application of larvicide has been found to be a prudent action; however, this measure only helps to reduce the mosquito population, not eliminate it," said Greenwich Director of Health Caroline Calderone Baisley. "The recent warm weather and frequent rain events have increased the ability for mosquitoes to breed. Residents are encouraged to protect themselves whenever they are outdoors.”
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