NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A state mosquito monitoring program will test the presence of viruses in mosquitos that can cause illness this season.

The mosquito trapping and testing program, run by the State of Connecticut Mosquito Management Program and coordinated by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES), will begin May 31 and run through the end of October.

During the program, CAES will trap and test mosquitos from 108 locations across the state for the presence of viruses that can harm people, including the West Nile virus (WNV) and eastern equine encephalitis (EEE).

“Typically, West Nile virus activity peaks from July — September, especially in densely-populated areas of lower Fairfield and New Haven Counties, and the Hartford metropolitan area,” medical entomologist at CAES, Dr. Philip Armstrong, said. “Seasonal transmission of EEE virus, in contrast, occurs more sporadically with focal areas located in rural areas of eastern Connecticut.”

During last year’s mosquito season, WNV was detected in 43 towns across the state, with six confirmed human cases in Fairfield, Hartford, and New Haven counties. While no EEE infections were reported in humans or horses last year, CAES said there are typically between four and eight cases reported in a year across the country.

CAES offered some tips to avoid getting bit this season:

  • Minimize time spend outdoors between dusk and dawn
  • Make sure doors and window screens are tight-fitting
  • Wear longer shirts, pants, and socks when outdoors for a long period of time
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors
  • Consider using EPA-registered mosquito repellent when outdoors

Positive virus findings are reported to local health departments. These can be found on the CAES website.