NEW LONDON COUNTY, Conn. (WTNH) — Mosquitoes in New London County have tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV), officials announced Wednesday.
Authorities said the insects were captured earlier in the month in Groton and North Stonington.
The announced came less than 24 hours after mosquitoes with West Nile Virus were found in Hartford.
According to the Center for Vector Biology & Zoonotic Diseases Center, infected mosquitoes have been found in 14 Connecticut towns including Chester, East Haven, Greenwich, Groton, Hartford, Manchester, New Haven, North Haven, North Stonington, South Windsor, Stamford, Voluntown, West Haven, and Wethersfield.
“We are seeing increases in the number of mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus with expansion into new locations,” said Dr. Philip Armstrong, Medical Entomologist at the CAES. “We have also detected eastern equine encephalitis virus from two towns in southeastern Connecticut; however, the highest level of activity continues to be in the Pachaug State Forest in Voluntown. Both viruses are expected to build-up in the mosquito population in the coming weeks and months ahead.”
West Nile is the most common mosquito-borne viral disease in the United States and reemerges every summer in Connecticut, experts said. One hundred fifty-seven human cases of the virus — including four deaths — have been diagnosed in Connecticut residents since 2000.
While infected mosquitoes are expected in the summer, authorities are reminding residents to be cautious.
WNV symptoms can range from a slight fever, headache, rash, swollen lymph nodes and nausea to the rapid onset of a severe headache, high fever, stiff neck, disorientation, muscle weakness, and coma.
Officials ask that the public report any potential WNV infections to a health care professional.
Authorities suggest the following ways to avoid being bitten:
- Minimize time outdoors at dusk and dawn.
- Be sure door and window screens are tight-fitting and do not have holes.
- Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts while outside.
- Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors.
- Use repellents when outside. Officials suggest using ones that contain DEET or Picaridin.