MILFORD — Considering the current coronavirus pandemic, it is important to know that mosquitoes and ticks do not transmit the novel coronavirus.
“According to the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, there is no data to suggest that COVID-19 is spread by mosquitoes or ticks at this time,” Deepa Joseph, director of the Milford Health Department, said Tuesday.
“The main way that COVID-19 spreads is from person to person,” Joseph said. “It is imperative that individuals practice social distancing and follow preventive measures including but not limited to staying at home as much as possible, especially if you are sick, wash your hands often, and frequently clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in your home.”
The Milford Health Department kicked off the annual Mosquito Control Program in April, with All Habitat Services monitoring the wetlands habitats in Milford and treating the marshy areas throughout the city. All Habitat Services employees will be following COVID prevention measures.
With the return of warmer weather and spring rain, residents can expect the return of mosquitoes. The primary focus of the Milford Health Department’s program is prevention through mosquito breeding site reduction, especially in densely populated areas, and education about personal protection.
Late summer and early fall is the critical time of the year when virus activity reaches its peak in the mosquito population.
Mosquito control efforts early in the season can decrease the risk of human transmission of West Nile virus and other vector-borne diseases.
“West Nile virus is the most common mosquito-borne viral disease in the United States and reemerges every summer in Connecticut,” Dr. Philip Armstrong, medical entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven, said in a release. “One hundred fifty-seven human cases of West Nile virus, including 4 deaths, have been diagnosed in Connecticut residents since 2000.”
To reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes residents should, according to the CAES:
— Minimize time spent outdoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
— Be sure door and window screens are tight-fitting and in good repair.
— Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in an unscreened structure and to protect small babies when outdoors.
The CAES will begin mosquito monitoring throughout Connecticut to identify, trap and test insects for early detection of West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis, as well as monitoring for Zika virus.
Mosquito trapping is conducted daily from June through October at 92 permanent locations throughout the state with two locations in Milford.
“As many of us have been staying home due to COVID-19, we want to continue to encourage everyone to enjoy the beautiful outdoor spaces that Milford offers. While you are outside maintaining social distance, we want to encourage everyone to take steps to minimize mosquito bites as the weather warms up,” said Milford Mayor Ben Blake.
The Milford Health Department advised residents to:
— Drain or dump any standing water that may produce mosquitoes, including in ceramic pots, used tires, tree holes and other cavities in plants.
— Wear light colored, loose fitting clothing. When practical, wear long sleeves and pants.
— Defend against mosquito bites by using a mosquito repellent that has been registered by the Environmental Protection Agency, such as DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
Find the insect repellent that’s right for you by using EPA’s search tool.
For additional prevention tips or more information, visit the Milford Health Department website at http://www.ci.milford.ct.us/environmental-health-division/pages/mosquito-control.
To report unusual numbers of mosquitoes, contact the Milford Health Department at 203-783-3287.