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Friday, September 12, 2003

West Nile Virus Found in Bird in Westport

The state Department of Public Health says it has found a crow infected with West Nile Virus in Westport.

The finding of the crow was reported in a department press release Thursday. It was the first bird infected with the disease discovered in Westport this year. An infected crow was also found in Weston.

Mosquitoes, birds, or horses infected with the virus have now been found in 91 of the states 169 municipalities, the department said. No infected mosquitoes or horses have been reported in Westport.

ғMosquito abundance has begun to decline statewide, but trap collections remain significantly higher than average and biting activity continues to be evident especially at dusk, the department said.

ԓThe Department of Public Health is strongly urging people to take measures to reduce mosquitoes near their homes and to avoid mosquito bites.

The department said two Connecticut residents, one from Bethlehem and one from North Stonington, have been diagnosed with illness attributed to the infection.

Prior to onset of illness, each traveled out of Connecticut and most likely each was infected in Colorado, the department said. They are recovering.

Once the virus is confirmed among wild birds in a town, the percent testing positive increases over several weeks and then 80 to 95 percent of those tested can be expected to be positive through September, according to the department.

It said testing additional wild birds from the same town is generally not necessary. Monitoring of virus activity in birds at that stage can be done primarily through monitoring of dead wild bird reports, the statement said.

Update (9/13/03): The state Friday reported two people from Colchester and Durham tested positive for the virus, bringing the number of Connecticut cases to four.

Additionally, it said mosquitoes infected with eastern equine encephalitis, a rarer, but deadlier disease than West Nile, were trapped in three towns for the first time this year. The insects were found in North Stonington, Stonington and Voluntown.

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Posted 09/12/03 at 05:49 PM  Permalink



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