More on emerging mosquito borne illness in CT

Health

(WTNH)– News 8 is on call for you. Today’s topic: an emerging mosquito borne illness recently found in Connecticut.

Jamestown Canyon Virus was detected in mosquitoes in the most recent round of trapping and testing. Mostly because experts say they are testing for it.

Dr. Philip Armstrong with Yale School of Public Health explains, “It was first detected in the 1960’s but it’s getting more recognition now because we’re finding more human cases in the U.S. particularly in the northeastern and mid-western states of the country.”

How many human cases so far in Connecticut?

Dr. Armstrong says, “There’s only been two documented human cases here in Connecticut. There was one case last year and it can cause serious illness in some individuals but it’s relatively rare.”

Who is more at risk for severe symptoms?

He answers, “We don’t know exactly why some people develop severe disease but in some individuals, they will develop encephalitis or meningitis and that’s a serious illness that requires hospitalization.”

Dr. Armstrong stresses that’s extremely rare. Some will come down with a mild case with flu like symptoms — but most people do not develop any at all.

What about treatment?

He says, “There’s no treatment. It’s a viral infection and so your best way to prevent Jamestown Canyon Virus infection is to prevent mosquito bites.”

Jamestown Canyon virus is among a number transmitted by mosquitoes.
West Nile and the Eastern Equine Encephalitis are also on the list.

What else is being monitored closely?

“There’s another virus called La Crosse virus, ” says Dr. Armstrong, “That causes encephalitis in children and it’s found in the midwest typically. But we detected it here in Connecticut last summer. So we’re going to be looking for that.”

Dr. Armstrong says they detected La Crosse in mosquitoes. There have been no human cases in our state.

Dr. Armstrong says there’s no need to panic. The bottom line here he says is that experts are more aware of these viruses.

Preventing mosquito bites is key, so use repellent, cover up, and avoid mosquitoes at dusk and dawn, when they are most active.

Send us your health questions to news8oncall@wtnh.com and we will get the answer for you.

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