By Eileen McNamara
West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes trapped in 12 towns across the state.
The West Nile-bearing insects were found in Norwalk, Bridgeport, East Haven, Fairfield, Glastonbury, Greenwich, Manchester, New Haven, Plainfield, Stamford, Stratford and Westport.
The state's Mosquito Management Program maintains traps in more than 90 Connecticut towns to test mosquitoes throughout the summer for several diseases, including West Nile. The incidence of the disease increases in late summer as mosquitoes become more active, state officials say.
"Historically in Connecticut, August and September are the months when risk of West Nile virus infections is greatest," Dr. Randall Nelson, public health veterinarian with the state's Department of Public Health told the Hartford Courant. "Everyone should take steps to prevent mosquito bites, such as using insect repellent and covering bare skin, especially during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active."
Health officials recommend the following to limit exposure to mosquitoes:
- Avoid outdoor activities at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
- Wear long sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Use mosquito repellent according to the manufacturer’s directions on the label (10% or less DEET for children and no more than 30% DEET for adults). Always wash treated skin when returning indoors.
- Avoid application of repellents with DEET on infants and small children.
- Cover arms and legs of children playing outdoors.
- Cover playpens or carriages with mosquito netting.
- Don’t camp overnight near stagnant or standing water.
Eliminate standing water by:
- Getting rid of any water holding containers (old tires, etc.).
- Rake out puddles and drain ditches, culverts, gutters, pool and boat covers.
- Cover trash containers.
- Chlorinate your backyard pool and empty wading pools when not in use.
- Change the water in birdbaths daily.
- Keep grass cut short and shrubbery well trimmed around the house so adult mosquitoes cannot hide there.