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Tuesday, August 07, 2012

West Nile Virus Mosquitoes Found in Westport

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Westport has been added to the list of 32 Connecticut municipalities where mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus have now been found, the state said today.

“West Nile virus is rapidly expanding throughout the state as a result of warm temperatures, high humidity and frequent rainfall that have created ideal conditions for amplification of the virus in local mosquito populations,” said Dr. Theodore G. Andreadis, state entomologist.

“Virus levels will continue to increase during the next several weeks creating an elevated risk for human infection.”

Workers at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station trapped the mosquitoes between June 27 and Aug. 1. It monitors 91 mosquito-trapping stations in 72 municipalities throughout the state.

“August and early September is the time of the year when people are at greatest risk of illness associated with West Nile virus infections,” said Dr. Randall Nelson, State Public Health Veterinarian with the Department of Public Health.

“Everyone should take precautions to prevent mosquito bites, particularly people over 50 since they are most likely to develop serious illness.”

In addition to Westport, the towns with the virus-carrying mosquitoes are Bethel, Bridgeport, Cheshire, Chester, Danbury, Darien, East Haven, Glastonbury, Greenwich, Groton, Hartford, Killingworth, Meriden, Milford, Monroe, New Canaan, New Haven, Newington, Newtown, North Branford, North Haven, Norwalk, Shelton, Stamford, Stratford, Wallingford, Waterbury, West Haven, Westbrook, Wethersfield, and Wilton.

The Westport Weston Health District has said it encourages residents to take personal and homeowner precautions to limit their exposure to mosquitoes, particularly in the hours around dusk and dawn. It offered these suggestions:

• Limit outdoor activities from dusk to dawn.
• Wear clothing that minimizes bare skin.
• Use mosquito repellents on clothing.
• Follow the directions on labels for insecticides or repellents.
• Cover arms and legs of children playing near standing water.
• Cover playpens or carriages with mosquito netting.
*  After any significant rainfall, remember to remove any standing water from your property.
• Remove objects that can hold standing water.
• Fill in holes, ditches, or tree trunks with sand or cement.
• Clean house gutters on a regular basis.
• Empty wadding pools and bird baths every four to seven days.
• Chlorinate swimming pools regularly.
• Eliminate collected water on boat and pool covers.
• Avoid over-watering of lawns.
• Fix holes in screens and attach properly to windows.

The District said West Nile virus can cause a range of symptoms, from very mild to severe. The elderly and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk.

Residents are urged to avoid outdoor activities between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active. Insect repellent can be used when outdoors in mosquito infested areas.

For additional information on West Nile virus and what can be done to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes, visit the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program website at http://www.ct.gov/mosquito.

Posted 08/07 at 09:43 PM

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