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First Of The Summer: Stamford Mosquitoes Test Positive For West Nile Virus

The first West Nile positive mosquitoes trapped in Connecticut this year were identified in Stamford.
The first West Nile positive mosquitoes trapped in Connecticut this year were identified in Stamford. Photo Credit: http://www.cdc.gov/

STAMFORD, Conn. — The state's first mosquitoes of the summer found to be infected with the West Nile Virus were trapped in Stamford, the state announced Friday.

The mosquitoes were trapped on July 6, and tested by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, according to the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

After the discovery, Stamford officials urged the public to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

“We know that mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk,” Stamford’s Director of Public Safety Ted Jankowski said in a statement. “Simple measures, including wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts, head coverings and socks will minimize exposure to mosquitoes, which may carry the virus. The use of insect repellant is also helpful.”

Jankowski also urged residents to seek out and empty standing water in and around their homes. He said the city has a larvicide program in place to treat catch basins and other standing water locations.

Most people who are infected with the West Nile virus and become sick will have a mild illness that may include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, or a skin rash. Less frequently, people develop severe illness of the nervous system that can also include neck stiffness, disorientation, loss of consciousness, tremors, muscle weakness, and paralysis. Although rare, it can be fatal.

Persons older than 50 years of age are more likely than younger persons to suffer more severe health consequences if they become infected with the virus.

West Nile virus has been detected in Connecticut every year since 1999. During 2015, West Nile Virus was detected in mosquitoes collected at trap sites in 24 towns, including Bridgeport, Darien, Greenwich, Norwalk, Stamford, and Stratford.

In addition, 10 confirmed human cases of West Nile virus were reported: six in Bridgeport, and one each in Fairfield, Milford, New Haven, and Shelton.

Precautions to avoid mosquito bites include:

  • Minimize time outdoors at dusk and dawn.
  • Be sure door and window screens are tight fitting and in good repair.
  • Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts. Clothing material should be tightly woven.
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors.
  • Consider using mosquito repellent when it is necessary to be outdoors. Always use according to label instructions. The most effective repellents contain DEET or Picaridin.
  • 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.

Measures to reduce mosquitoes around the home include:

  • 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 birdbaths on a weekly basis.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, and when not in use, use pool covers and drain when necessary.
  • Use landscaping to eliminate areas where water can collect on your property.

Additional resources for information on West Nile virus and mosquito management:

  • The Department of Public Health website at www.ct.gov/dph
  • The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station Web site at www.ct.gov/caes
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov

The city said residents can report locations of stagnant water to Ronald Miller at the City of Stamford Health Department by calling 203-977-4363.

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