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Health Director Urges Vigilance for West Nile Virus

The director of health of the Westport Weston Health District said today that confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in mosquitoes in towns surrounding Westport and Weston should heighten residents’ awareness of the dangers of mosquito bites.WestportNow.com Image
Mark A. R. Cooper:  take precautions. File photo

Mark A.R. Cooper, said the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program found mosquitoes trapped in Norwalk, Bridgeport, Bethel, Orange, and Meriden have tested positive for the virus.

“As West Nile Virus continues to circulate and intensify within the mosquito population, it is likely mosquitoes in Westport and Weston will also become infected, if they have not already done so,” he said in a news release.

Cooper urged residents to begin taking precautions to prevent mosquito bites.

With the resurgence of warm weather, mosquitoes will depositing their eggs in any pool of water they can find and will be eagerly looking for someone’s blood to feed on, he said.

Monica Wheeler, director of community health for the District, said West
Nile virus can cause a range of symptoms, ranging from very mild to severe.

“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.

Neither Cooper or Wheeler could recall a recent case of West Nile Virus in a Westport or Weston resident. However, West Nile Virus has been found in mosquitoes in Westport in 2007 and 2008.

The Health District recommends residents take the following precautions:

. Eliminate any object outside that can hold water and become a breeding place for mosquitoes.

. Clean house gutters that may be retaining water.

. Empty wading pools and bird baths every few days.

. Chlorinate swimming pools regularly.

. Make sure covers on grills, boats, pools, and other outside equipment do not
collect water.

. Wear clothing that minimized exposed skin.

. Use mosquito repellents as directed by their labels.

For more information on West Nile Virus, visit the Health District’s Web site at www.wwhd.org and/or the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program Web site at www.ct.gov/mosquito.

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