It's time to get serious about mosquitoes: It's West Nile season in Connecticut.
The first mosquitoes of the year have tested positive for the virus, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station announced Tuesday. They were captured June 29 in West Haven.
"The West Nile virus season has begun," said Philip Armstrong, medical entomologist for the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. "Late June to mid-July is when we typically first detect WNV infection in mosquitoes and we anticipate further buildup of the virus from now through September."
"This is a reminder for residents to protect themselves from mosquito bites," said Dr. Theodore Andreadis, director of the CAES. "We encourage everyone to take simple measures such as wearing mosquito repellent and covering bare skin, especially during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active."
Last year, one human case of West Nile virus was reported in Milford. Since 2000, there have been 131 people in Connecticut diagnosed with the virus, with three fatalities.
In early June, the state began trapping mosquitoes and testing for West Nile as well as Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Jamestown Canyon virus and Zika virus.
Here are some precautions to take to avoid mosquito bites and to decrease mosquito activity:
- Rid your property of standing water in containers such as barrels and birdbaths.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools.
- Clean clogged gutters.
- Fix holes in your screens.
- Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors. Clothing should be light-colored and made of tightly woven materials.
- Protect small babies with netting when outdoors.
- Use mosquito repellent, as directed, when outdoors.
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