First human case of West Nile Virus reported in Connecticut this season

Staff at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station test mosquitoes for West Nile Virus (WTNH / Noelle Gardner)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The Connecticut Department of Public Health announced Friday afternoon that a resident of New Haven has tested positive for a West Nile Virus infection, becoming the first human case of the virus in Connecticut this season.

According to the Department of Public Health (DPH), the patient is in their 50s, and became ill during the last week of August. The patient was hospitalized with high fever, dehydration and confusion. Laboratory tests confirmed the presence of
antibodies to WNV in the patient’s cerebrospinal fluid.

DPH Commissioner, Dr. Raul Pino, said that this case makes it very clear that residents need to be diligent about protecting themselves from West Nile Virus.

The identification of a Connecticut resident with West Nile virus associated illness that required hospitalization underscores the potential seriousness of the infection. Using insect repellent, covering bare skin and avoiding being outdoors during the hours of dusk and dawn are effective ways to help keep you from being bitten by mosquitoes.”

“We continue to have weather conditions that are favorable for the mosquitoes that transmit West Nile virus,” said Dr. Philip Armstrong, Medical Entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment station (CAES). “These mosquitoes are most abundant in urban and suburban areas with dense human populations. West Nile virus positive mosquitoes were first identified in New Haven on August 16th.”

Related Content: West Nile Virus found in more areas across the state

According to the DPH, West Nile virus has been detected in the state every year since 1999. During 2017, WNV has been detected in mosquitoes collected at trap sites in 26 towns including: Branford, Bridgeport, Darien, Farmington, Glastonbury, Greenwich, Groton, Guilford, Middlefield, Wilford, New Canaan, New Haven, North Branford, North Stonington, Norwalk, Orange, Plainfield, Redding, Shelton, South Windsor, Stamford, Stratford, Voluntown, West Hartford, West Haven and Westport.

Mosquito trapping and testing began on June 5th with the first positive mosquitoes identified on June 29th in West Haven.

Exposure to mosquitoes and the risk of acquiring WNV infection varies by season and geographic region. In Connecticut, the risk is highest during August and September and typically subsides in October, as mosquitos die off due to lower temperatures, according to the Connecticut DPH.

For information on WNV and other mosquito-borne viruses and how to prevent mosquito bites, visit the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program Web site at www.ct.gov/mosquito.

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