EAST HAVEN — Mosquitoes recently caught in East Haven have tested positive for West Nile virus, according to a release from the East Shore Health District.
The mosquitoes were collected July 30 from a trap set by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station near the corner of Kenneth and Burgess streets, according to the health district. They are the first mosquitoes identified by the station this year as carrying the virus.
“The West Nile virus season has begun,” said Dr. Philip Armstrong, medical entomologist at the CAES, in the release. “We typically first detect West Nile virus in mosquitoes from late June to mid July so this year’s detection is later than usual. Nevertheless, virus activity can escalate very quickly and we anticipate further build-up of the virus from now through September.”
According to the CAES, West Nile virus has been detected in Connecticut every year since 1999, with most cases in densely populated areas in Fairfield, New Haven and Hartford counties.
Twenty-three cases in humans were reported last year, with one fatality, according to the release.
According to the CAES, higher than normal levels of WNV-infected mosquitoes were detected last year, with a total of 393 positive mosquito samples collected from 53 municipalities.
CAES Director Dr. Theodore Andreadis said, also in a release, that mosquitoes would continue to be closely monitored “for virus amplification.”
“We encourage everyone to take simple measures such as wearing mosquito repellent and covering bare skin, especially during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active,” Andreadis said.
The health district advised that residents work to eliminate standing water on their properties and offered safety tips in the release: .
“Personal protection measures include:
— Minimize time spent outdoors around dusk and dawn.
— Be sure door and window screens are tight fitting and in good repair.
— Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and a long sleeved shirt when and where mosquitoes are most active.
— Use mosquito netting when sleeping and to protect small babies when outdoors.
— Consider the use of mosquito repellent containing DEET when it is necessary to be outdoors.”