First human cases of West Nile Virus identified in Connecticut

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West Nile virus is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. (WABC)

Two human cases of West Nile Virus have been identified in Connecticut.

The patients are between 60 and 79 years old and live in Fairfield and Newington.

They became ill during the last week of July with encephalitis and were hospitalized. One is still in the hospital as of Friday. WNV is spread by mosquito bites.

WNV has been detected in the state every year since 1999. Before 2018, 134 human cases of WNV were diagnosed in Connecticut residents including three fatalities.

Most people (8 out of 10) infected with WNV do not develop symptoms. About one in five people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms. About 1 out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness.

Tips for reducing mosquitoes around homes

Mosquitoes require water for reproduction. The following are measures that can help reduce mosquitoes:

Eliminate standing water suitable for mosquitoes. Dispose of water-holding containers, such as ceramic pots, used tires, and tire swings.

Drill holes in the bottom of containers such as those used for recycling.

Clean clogged roof gutters.

Turn over objects that may trap water when not in use, such as wading pools and wheelbarrows.

Change water in bird baths on a weekly basis.

Clean and chlorinate swimming pools. When pools are not in use, use pool covers and drain when necessary.

Tips for avoiding mosquito bites when outdoors

Mosquitoes require a blood meal for reproduction. The following are measures that can help reduce bites from mosquitoes that feed on people:

Be particularly careful at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts. Clothing material should be tightly woven.

Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors.

Consider the use of CDC-recommended mosquito repellents, containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, IR3535, or 2-undecanone, and apply according to directions, when it is necessary to be outdoors.

When using DEET, use the lowest concentration effective for the time spent outdoors (for example, 6 percent lasts approximately two hours and 20 percent for four hours) and wash treated skin when returning indoors. Do not apply under clothing, to wounds or irritated skin, the hands of children, or to infants less than two months old.

Also, be sure door and window screens are tight fitting and in good repair to avoid mosquito bites when indoors.

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