Hartford – The State Mosquito Management Program today announced that mosquitoes trapped on August 28 in Hartford have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). These are the first positive mosquitoes identified in Hartford by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) this year.

A Hartford resident, between 40 and 49 years of age, was previously reported with WNV infection. This person became ill during the first week of August, was briefly hospitalized and has recovered. The City of Hartford treated city properties with larvicide to control mosquitoes. Private property owners in Hartford and statewide are urged to remove standing water on their properties.

"We continue to identify mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus," said Governor M. Jodi Rell. "The next several weeks constitute the peak season for this virus. We should all take the recommended precautions to avoid mosquito bites when outdoors and to help reduce mosquito breeding areas by eliminating standing water."

So far this summer, positive mosquitoes have been identified in 11 towns – Danbury, Glastonbury, Greenwich, Hartford, Manchester, New Haven, Newington, Stamford, Stratford, West Haven, and Westport. Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) has been identified in one town – Plainfield. Four persons, residents of Danbury, Hartford, New London, and Woodbridge have recovered after being diagnosed with WNV-associated illnesses. No human cases of EEEV have been identified in Connecticut.

"The State Mosquito Management Program is monitoring mosquito-transmitted diseases and alerting the public when warning is necessary," said Department of Public Health (DPH) Commissioner J. Robert Galvin, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A. "Residents, particularly the elderly, should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites during the mosquito season."

To monitor WNV and EEEV, the CAES maintains a network of 91 mosquito-trapping stations in 72 municipalities throughout the state from June through October. Mosquito traps are set by the CAES every ten days at each site on a rotating basis. Mosquitoes are grouped (pooled) for testing according to species, collection site, and date. Most people who are infected and become ill with WNV will have a mild illness that may include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, or a skin rash. Less frequently, people develop severe illness of the nervous system that can also include neck stiffness, disorientation, loss of consciousness, tremors, muscle weakness, and paralysis. Persons older than 50 years of age are more likely than younger persons to suffer the more severe health consequences if they become infected with WNV.

Eastern equine encephalitis is a rare disease in people but often serious. Symptoms of EEEV can include high fever, stiff neck, headache and lack of energy. The most serious result of infection is encephalitis, or swelling of the brain, and is fatal in approximately one-third of persons who become ill.

The State of Connecticut Mosquito Management Program is an interagency program consisting of the Department of Environmental Protection, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Agriculture, and the University of Connecticut Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science.

Precautions to avoid mosquito bites include:

  • Minimize time outdoors at dusk and dawn.
  • Be sure door and window screens are tight fitting and in good repair.
  • Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts. Clothing material should be tightly woven.
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors.
  • Consider using mosquito repellent when it is necessary to be outdoors. Always use according to label instructions. The most effective repellents contain DEET or Picaridin.
  • When using DEET, use the lowest concentration effective for the time spent outdoors (for example, 6% lasts approximately two hours and 20% for four hours) and wash treated skin when returning indoors. Do not apply under clothing, to wounds or irritated skin, the hands of children, or to infants less than two months old.

Measures to reduce mosquitoes around the home include:

  • Dispose of water-holding containers, such as ceramic pots, used tires, and tire swings.
  • Drill holes in the bottom of containers such as those used for recycling.
  • Clean clogged roof gutters.
  • Turn over objects that may trap water when not in use, such as wading pools and wheelbarrows.
  • Change water in bird baths on a weekly basis.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools. When pools are not in use, use pool covers and drain when necessary.
  • Use landscaping to eliminate areas where water can collect on your property.

Additional resources for information on West Nile virus and mosquito management: