HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut is gearing up to respond and to avoid the ‘Zika Virus.’ So far there are no cases in the state, but the Departments of Public Health, and Agriculture say there is reason to be prepared and take specific precautions, especially on the shoreline. State officials say there is no emergency and there is no crisis, but important steps by state agencies and the shoreline population must be made.
The residents of Connecticut are among the most well-traveled populations in the country. This time of the year, a getaway to Florida, the Caribbean and points south is almost routine for many families. There is also a population that goes back and forth on a more regular basis.
“Our concern is that the outbreak that we have in Puerto Rico, about 25 cases at this point, and the transient population that we have between the island and Connecticut,” said Dr. Raul Pino of the Connecticut Department of Public Health.
The Governor announced today that the state will be able to do its own testing by the end of the month and in the meantime, tests are going to the CDC.
“We are receiving about 30 calls a day from OB/GYN doctors,” said Pino.
There are 50 different kinds of mosquitoes in Connecticut. The primary carrier of the ‘Zika Virus,’ the “Aedes Aegyupti/Yellow Fever” mosquito cannot live here because of the winters, but a secondary carrier, the “Aedes Albo Pictus/Asian Tiger,” which is a very aggressive, daytime human biter, is here.
The Agriculture Experiment Station in New Haven operates 91 mosquito trapping stations throughout the state and the “Asian Tiger” mosquito has been present in lower coastal New Haven and Fairfield County for ten years. They start to breed in late May.
“We will be monitoring those mosquitoes very closely, along with the other 49 species that occur in the state in our surveillance program,” said Dr. Ted Andreadis, Director of the Experiment Station.
The state is urging all residents, especially in urban areas on the shoreline, to be mindful of small amounts of water this spring.
“As small as a half a cup of water. So, garbage containers, garbage cans, garbage collection areas, containers holding plants, birdbaths,” said Malloy.
People who have been to the Zika Virus areas should be tested within 2 to 12 weeks of their return.