HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) -- Twelve municipalities across the state have tested positive for West Nile Virus.
The health department says they usually see cases of the illness popping up in late August and September.
The question is, how worried should we be about the numbers?
"I would think it's very prudent on the part of the public, to start paying attention, avoid being bitten by mosquitoes," said Dr. Theodore Andreadis, Chief State Medical Entomologist.
Twelve and counting: that's how many Connecticut communities there are where West Nile-positive mosquitoes have been found so far this year. The communities include: New Haven, Manchester, Bridgeport, East Haven, Fairfield, Glastonbury, Greenwich, Norwalk, Plainfield, Stamford, Stratford, and Westport.
Dr. Andreadis says neither the number nor the geography is alarming, so far.
"It's nothing unusual this year," said Dr. Andreadis. "Last year we had a very, very bad year. We detected the virus in 44 different communities, which is the widest distribution we've ever experienced."
The symptoms and consequences are worthy of note.
"It can manifest itself in a high fever, headache, vomiting, nausea, muscle weakness," Dr. Andreadis said. "You'll feel like you've been hit with the flu. And, in our elderly population it can express itself in more severe forms, where you get meningitis and encephalitis."
The traps work like this: the canister has dry ice, which emits carbon dioxide, attracting the mosquitoes in from a distance. They see a light and they're pulled in even further, where a fan sucks them right down into an enclosure. The good news is, Connecticut has one of the best trapping and testing programs in the northeast.
"We have 91 locations," said Dr. Andreadis. "We literally test thousands of mosquitoes on an annual basis. Typically we'll do 200,000 mosquitoes."
Despite the lack of alarm, Dr. Andreadis cautions that it's still early in the game for West Nile, and even earlier for the more dangerous Eastern Equine Encephalitis.
This is going to continue to expand as we move through the coming weeks," Dr. Andreadis said, "and it probably will peak some time in mid to late August, and then through September.
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