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Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Westport Among Communities Reporting Mosquito Virus

State officials say Westport is among communities where the heavy rains of last month have provided a boost in the human-biting mosquito population and with that, the reappearance in Connecticut of another virus.

The Jamestown Canyon virus, unlike West Nile virus, appears to be relatively common in Connecticut. It is carried by white-tailed deer while West Nile is carried by birds.

The Jamestown Canyon virus, which usually causes only mild fever and headache, has been discovered in trapped mosquitoes in Westport and six other communities, according to the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.

The other communities are Danbury, Woodbridge, Cromwell, Franklin, Willington, and Barkhamsted.

June’s rain spurred a population explosion among human-biting mosquitoes that thrive in swampy areas and tend to carry Jamestown Canyon, but not West Nile, according to Theodore Andreadis, chief medical entomologist at the agricultural station.

Jamestown Canyon has been detected in mosquitoes every year for the past six years that tests have been conducted, Andreadis said.

Two studies suggest that many Connecticut residents already may have been infected but experienced few or no symptoms, according to an AP report.


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