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State sees increase in West Nile virus

More mosquitoes in the surrounding area are testing positive for the West Nile virus.

More mosquitoes in the surrounding area are testing positive for the West Nile virus.

The state Mosquito Management Program  announced Tuesday that mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile virus (WNV) have been identified in 32 towns so far this season. The virus has been confirmed in mosquitoes trapped in a widening area of Fairfield, Hartford, New Haven, Middlesex and New London counties.

No mosquites have tested positive in Weston, but they have in several neighboring towns.

The mosquitoes were trapped by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) from June 27 to Aug. 1 in: 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, Westport, Wethersfield, and Wilton.

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

“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.”

Monitoring and risk assessment for WNV emphasizes mosquito trapping and testing results. The CAES maintains a network of 91 mosquito-trapping stations in 72 municipalities throughout the state.

Mosquito traps are set Monday through Thursday nights at each site every 10 days on a rotating basis. Mosquitoes are grouped (pooled) for testing according to species, collection site, and date. Each pool is tested for the presence of viruses of public health importance.

Positive findings are reported to local health departments and on the CAES website at ct.gov/caes.

For information on West Nile virus and how to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes, visit ct.gov/mosquito.

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