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West Nile Virus in Connecticut: What to Do?

CONNECTICUT — The mosquitoes that brought the terrifying West Nile Virus to Connecticut every summer are back. and they come fast

Field teams from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station trap the first viral insect of the season in Milford on June 21.

Philip Armstrong, a virologist and medical entomologist in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the Center for Vector Biology & Zoonotic Diseases in CAES, says his colleagues don’t usually find WNV vector insects until early to mid-July.

Armstrong said we cannot control mosquito outbreaks and subsequent WNV outbreaks any more than the weather.

West Nile virus has been detected in Connecticut every year since it began spreading in North America in 1

999, when it “surpassed all our expectations,” Armstrong said. “It reappears every summer. It’s very reliable. And the level of virus activity fluctuates greatly from year to year. And that really depends on the weather in the summer.”

If the summer is hotter than the average summer Armstrong said the state would face a number of WNV cases last season. West Nile virus was detected in 143 mosquito pools from 21 cities in Fairfield, Hartford and New Haven counties with eight cases in 2019. CAES followed WNV in 82 mosquito samples from 23 cities and was reported. One case A year earlier, 158 cases of West Nile virus were reported in Connecticut. Of these, four died.

There is no vaccine to prevent or treat WNV in people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most people who are infected will not feel sick. But about one in five people who are infected will develop a fever and other symptoms. About 1 in 150 infected people have a serious illness. Sometimes it can be fatal.

“And in the coming weeks and months of this hot climate we are experiencing right now is the perfect weather for the West Nile virus and the mosquitoes it transmits. It likes hot, hot, very hot weather,” Armstrong said. “We’re holding our breath to see what happens.”

Some municipalities can’t wait and have struggled with insects. Those cities have begun to maintain storm sewers. which mosquitoes tend to breed using insecticides to kill children Armstrong said the best technological solution would be to use airborne larvae over a wide area. But that cannot be done as mosquitoes are infesting urban and suburban areas.

“There aren’t many good choices for mosquito control,” the entomologist told Patch. “We fully expect it to continue to spread and expand in the coming weeks and months.”

The traditional mosquito-trampling area is a community along Interstate 95, Lower Fairfield County, and Lower New Haven counties. From New Haven and Hartford to Greenwich Knowing what they now know, many CAES teams have headed back to Milford for more trappings, Armstrong said, but hunting bugs can be a bogus.

“It’s unpredictable when and where it will reappear,” he said.

What scientists know is how to reduce the risk of WNV infection. CAES officials are recommending residents take the following steps to reduce their risk of mosquito bites:

  • Reduce the time spent outdoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Make sure the door and window shutters are tight and in good condition.
  • Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and long sleeves when outdoors for long periods of time. or when more mosquitoes move Clothing should be light-colored and made of a tightly woven material that keeps mosquitoes away from the skin.
  • Use mosquito nets when sleeping outdoors or in structures without mosquito nets. and to protect the baby when outdoors
  • Consider using an EPA-approved mosquito repellent and follow the instructions when it’s necessary to be outdoors.

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