Health experts worry about sexually transmitted Zika in Conn.

This 2006 photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a female Aedes aegypti mosquito in the process of acquiring a blood meal from a human host.


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut has been fairly proactive since the outbreak of Zika. But the potential mosquito transmitted case in Florida, the baffling case in Utah and detection of a secondary carrier of Zika in the state has led health experts to begin what it calls — sentinal screening.

The Asian Tiger mosquito is a secondary carrier of Zika – capable of carrying the virus. Specialized trapping since June — show they are now in the state.

Director of the CT Agricultural Experiment Station Dr. Theodore Andreadis says, “Thus far, we have trapped and tested over 90 thousand mosquitoes collected in the state. These come in to our laboratory on a daily basis. Thus far we have found no mosquitoes infected with Zika virus.”

The possiblity of that happening health experts say is extremely low.

Dr. Raul Pino, CT Department of Public Health Commissioner says, “We do not expect mosquito transmission in Connecticut. If local transmission were to occurr in Connecticut, more likely it will be sexual.”

That’s why the state will begin sentinal screening.

“They are going to look for people,” explains Governor Dannel Malloy, “who report similar symptoms to the virus who don’t say they have necessarily been to a place where it’s been transmitted and they are going to test them for the virus.”

They will be testing 10 individuals a week — 16 years and older as a precautionary measure.

The focus will be lower Fairfield and New Haven counties where the Asian Tiger could emerge and where segments of the population visit Zika striken regions. So far all the reported Connecticut cases are travel related – closely monitored.

Dr. Pino says, “We have established a registry for pregnant women who have contracted the disease and we also have a registry in place who have tracked babies after they are born. So far no one has been born with any birth defects.”

The state is funding the screening but does anticipate federal funds as well.

Testing will begin in community health centers in Stamford, Stratford and Bridgeport.

Hospitals will also be involved.

Another announcement today — the first mosquitoes this summer with West Nile Virus have been found in Stamford.

So be sure to protect yourselves — with proper clothing, insect repellant and get rid of standing water.

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