West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes found nearby

Mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus have been found in five Connecticut towns — Bridgeport, Easton, New Canaan, Stratford and Waterbury — according to the State Mosquito Management Program. The disease was identified by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) which tested mosquitoes collected from June 18 to July 10.

“Mosquito-borne illness is a threat to take seriously, especially from now until well into September,” said Dr. Raul Pino, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Public Health. “I ask everyone to prevent mosquito bites by eliminating standing water around your home, making sure your door and window screens are in good repair, and covering bare skin and using insect repellent when outside — especially at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.”

Dr. Philip Armstrong, a medical entomologist at the experiment station, said it appears this will be a very active season for West Nile virus. “Mosquito populations are building and will continue to do so, especially with the persistence of hot-muggy weather,” he said. “The surrounding states are also reporting early West Nile virus activity."

Mosquitoes can be found around structures where moisture is located, such as bird baths, clogged rain gutters or potted plants. Mosquito populations often concentrate in neighborhoods and areas where there are people due to the availability of moisture.

No human or horse cases have been reported with West Nile virus-associated illnesses in Connecticut this season. Since 2000, 134 human cases of West Nile virus have been diagnosed in Connecticut residents including three fatalities.

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, or when mosquitoes are most 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. There are two in Wilton. 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 online at ct.gov/caes/mosquitotesting.

For information on West Nile virus and how to prevent mosquito bites, visit  ct.gov/mosquito.