NDDH Warns of Mosquito-Transmitted Illnesses

(BROOKLYN) – Reports of mosquitoes testing positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) from a trapping station in the town of Hampton and a human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in the town of Thompson has prompted the Northeast District Department of Health (NDDH) to continue to remind residents to take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

WNV and EEE are two diseases transmitted by mosquitoes that are of particular concern in the late summer and fall. WNV is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito and can cause serious illness. While infections are usually not fatal, patients who develop meningitis or encephalitis may suffer long lasting symptoms of the nervous system. EEE is a rare but serious disease caused by EEE virus. The virus is spread by adult mosquitoes, which are killed by frost in the fall; however, weather conditions continue to be favorable for mosquito activity so residents should be vigilant.

SWAT Campaign Helps Residents to Remember Prevention Tips

To help residents lower their risk of acquiring mosquito-borne illnesses, NDDH developed the SWAT campaign that offers tips to avoid being bitten.

“SWAT is an easy acronym to remember to prevent mosquito bites, “said Susan Starkey, NDDH Director of Health. “Screens on doors and windows should be tight-fitting and in good repair; Wear protective clothing such as shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts to cover bare skin; Apply insect repellent according to instructions when going outdoors and be particularly careful at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active. Most importantly, Toss any standing water that may be collecting on your property. Water in wading pools, bird baths, buckets, barrels, flower pots, pet dishes, and tire swings should be changed or emptied regularly. Clogged roof gutters should be cleaned. These simple steps can help you reduce your risk.”

Connecticut Mosquito Management Program

The response to mosquito transmitted diseases in Connecticut is a collaborative inter-agency effort involving the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES), the Department of Public Health, the Department of Agriculture and the University of Connecticut Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science. These agencies are responsible for monitoring mosquito populations and the potential public health threat of mosquito-borne diseases.

The CAES maintains a network of 91 mosquito-trapping stations in 72 municipalities throughout the state. Mosquito trapping and testing begins in June and continues into October. Mosquito traps are set Monday through Thursday nights at each site every ten days on a rotating basis. Mosquitoes are grouped for testing according to species, collection site, and date. Positive findings are reported to local health departments and on the CAES website at http://www.ct.gov/caes/mosquitotesting.

For information on WNV, EEE, and what can be done to prevent mosquito bites, visit the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program web site at www.ct.gov/mosquito.