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Mosquitoes test positive for West Nile Virus in Stamford

By Stamford Department of Health & Social Services

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The State Mosquito Management Program today announced that mosquitoes trapped in Stamford on June 27, 2012, have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). These are the first positive mosquitoes identified in the State of Connecticut by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) this year.

According to Anne Fountain, Director of Health and Social Services for the City of Stamford, “ It is important that residents take precautions to avoid contact with mosquitoes. We know that mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk. 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. In addition, we urge people to seek out and empty standing water in and around their homes.”

To monitor WNV, the CAES maintains a network of trapping stations in municipalities throughout the state of Connecticut from June through October. Mosquito traps are set by the CAES every ten days at each site on a rotating basis. Mosquitoes are grouped (pooled) for testing according to species, collection site, and date. Mosquitos were identified in one pool of mosquitos in Stamford.

Most people who are infected with WNV and become ill 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. Persons older than 50 years of age are more likely than younger persons to suffer the more severe health consequences if they become infected with WNV.

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
• 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

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