All mosquitoes collected in state will be tested for
West Nile, EEE and Zika viruses
The State of Connecticut Mosquito Management Program (MMP) announced that the seasonal mosquito trapping and testing program coordinated by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) began on June 5th. The program monitors the types, numbers and locations of mosquitoes and tests them for the presence of viruses that can cause illness including West Nile virus (WNV) and eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEE) and Zika virus. First test results will be available the week of June 12.
"Connecticut has a robust statewide mosquito monitoring program that includes traps and sites selected for each of the mosquito transmitted viruses of public health concern," said Dr. Philip Armstrong of The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. "Historically, WNV infected mosquitoes are identified early to mid-July each year while EEE is not expected until later in the summer. It is unlikely that Zika infected mosquitoes will be identified but we will be testing for it."
"As we enjoy the warm summer weather outdoors, it is important to take precautions to avoid mosquito and tick bites," said Dr. Raul Pino, Commissioner, Department of Public Health. "Let’s also remember that currently the threat of Zika virus infections among Connecticut residents is the result of travel to Zika affected areas and sexual transmission from infected men to their partners, not from local mosquito transmission."
The number of human cases varies from year to year depending on a variety of environmental factors. Since 2000, the number of annually acquired infections has ranged from zero in 2004 and 2009 to 21 in 2012; on average there are 6 reported each year. During 2016, one Connecticut resident was reported with WNV-associated illnesses. The patient, 70-79 and a resident of Milford, was diagnosed with encephalitis and hospitalized. While WNV infections are not usually fatal, patients with meningitis or encephalitis may suffer lasting symptoms resulting from neurological damage.
The yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) is the primary mosquito species involved in the Latin American epidemic and does not occur in Connecticut. Another mosquito species, the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), may also transmit Zika virus and it has a more temperate distribution in the U.S. and has been identified in southern Connecticut. Enhanced mosquito surveillance conducted by the CAES collected 2,221 Aedes albopictus mosquitoes in 25 trap sites in 18 towns primarily in lower Fairfield and New Haven counties. No Zika -positive mosquitoes were identified.
For information on WNV and EEE, what can be done to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes, the latest mosquito test results and human infections, visit the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program web site at www.ct.gov/mosquito.