Thursday, August 09, 2012
Health District Urges West Nile Precautions
Mark Cooper, director of the Westport Weston Health District (WWHD), said today “it was only a matter of time” before mosquitoes trapped in Westport tested positive for the West Nile virus, and he urged residents to take a series of precautions.
On Tuesday, the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program announced that mosquitoes tested positive in 32 towns including Westport. (See WestportNow Aug. 7, 2012)
“With the frequent rains and hot temperatures, there are perfect conditions for mosquitoes to breed, and West Nile Virus to amplify within the mosquito population,” Cooper said. “This is something that happens every year.”
To prevent mosquito bites, Cooper suggested residents wear clothing that covers skin surfaces, use mosquito repellents and “eliminate any pool of water that mosquitoes can lay their eggs in around their home or business.”
According to Monica Wheeler, WWHD’s director of community health, up to 80 percent of those bitten do not exhibit symptoms upon exposure to the virus.
“However, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk and should limit their exposure to mosquitoes, particularly in the hours around dusk and dawn,” she said.
Among the precautions the WWHD recommends are: cleaning house gutters that may be retaining water; emptying wading pools and bird baths every few days; chlorinating swimming pools regularly; and making sure covers on grills, boats, pools, and other outside equipment do not collect water.