Three Fairfield County residents test positive for West Nile virus
Five more residents of Connecticut — including three from Fairfield County — have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV), according the the state Department of Public Health. That brings the total number of human cases so far this year to 15. The Fairfield County cases included people from Danbury, Norwalk and Stamford.
A fourth patient is a resident of Thompson in Windham County and the fifth is from Westbrook in Middlesex County. Ages range from 40 to over 70, and three of the five required hospitalization. They became ill in early to mid-September.
“It is very unusual for us to have this many people seriously ill with WNV infection in September,” DPH Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino said in a press release. “More warm weather is forecast for this weekend and many Connecticut residents will be outdoors enjoying the state’s country fairs, family gatherings, and other events, especially in the early evening when mosquitoes are most active. Please take precautions to prevent mosquito bites. WNV infection is preventable.”
“I would also like to remind people who are over the age of 50 that you are more likely to develop serious symptoms of WNV infection and should take special care to avoid mosquito bites,” he added.
“Although mosquito populations are declining, we continue to find WNV-infected mosquitoes throughout many regions of the state in our trapping program, and this is likely to continue for the next several weeks until the first hard frost in October,” said Dr. Theodore G. Andreadis, director The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. The station maintains a network of 91 mosquito-trapping stations in 72 municipalities throughout the state, including Wilton. More than 8,000 mosquitoes have been tested from the two Wilton traps with three mosquitoes testing positive for Jamestown Canyon virus, a less common flu-like virus that may result in meningitis.
About 1 in 150 people infected with West Nile virus will develop severe illness. The severe symptoms can include:
- High fever
- Neck stiffness
- Muscle weakness
- Vision loss
These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.
Up to 20% of the people who become infected will have symptoms which can include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days to as long as several weeks.
Most people will show no symptoms at all.
Because mosquitoes require water for reproduction, tips for reducing mosquitoes around homes includes:
- Dispose of water-holding containers, such as ceramic pots, used tires, and tire swings.
- Drill holes in the bottom of containers such as those used for recycling.
- Clean clogged roof gutters.
- Turn over objects that may trap water when not in use, such as wading pools and wheelbarrows.
- Change water in bird baths on a weekly basis.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools. When pools are not in use, use pool covers and drain when necessary.
To reduce mosquito bites:
Be particularly careful at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts. Clothing material should be tightly woven.
Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors.
Consider the use of CDC-recommended mosquito repellents, containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, IR3535, or 2-undecanone, and apply according to directions, when it is necessary to be outdoors. When using DEET, use the lowest concentration effective for the time spent outdoors (for example, 6% lasts approximately two hours and 20% for four hours) and wash treated skin when returning indoors. Do not apply under clothing, to wounds or irritated skin, the hands of children, or to infants less than two months old.
For information on West Nile virus and how to prevent mosquito bites, visit the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program Web site at ct.gov/mosquito.