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Health district warns: Mosquitoes can be more than pests

Published: Sunday, 23 July 2017 22:07

BERLIN - Each year, the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program conducts mosquito monitoring throughout the state.

This monitoring, coordinated by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, began on June 5.

Mosquitoes are being collected around the state to detect the presence of viruses that can cause illness, such as West Nile virus, Eastern equine encephalitis and the Zika virus.

The two collection sites within the Central Connecticut Health District, which encompass Berlin, Newington, Rocky Hill and Wethersfield, are at Churchill Park in Newington and Goff Road in Wethersfield.

This program maintains a network of 91 mosquito-trapping stations in 72 municipalities across Connecticut.

During the 2016 season, 170,000 mosquitoes were collected at trap sites in 20 towns.

Most were collected in southwestern Connecticut. One elderly Milford resident was diagnosed with encephalitis and hospitalized, but no other cases of mosquito-borne illness were reported.

Although no mosquitoes that positive for the Zika virus in the state, 115 residents tested positive, including seven pregnant women. Those Zika cases were associated with out-of-state travel during the testing period.

To minimize the risk of acquiring a mosquito-borne illness, the following steps are suggested to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes:

 Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors; it is especially important to cover the arms and legs of children. Clothing should be light colored and made of tightly woven materials that keep mosquitoes away from the skin.

 Cover babies’ playpens and carriages with mosquito netting when outdoors.

 Eliminate sources of standing water such as stagnant ponds, ditches, flower pots and old tires, as a mosquito only needs a few tablespoons of water to lay eggs. Drain children’s pools, clean clogged gutters, and flush bird baths and fountains once or twice a week. Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, and any similar containers that have accumulated on your property, and drill holes in the bottoms of recycling and garbage containers that are left outside.

Anyone with questions or concerns about mosquito control or any public health issue can contact the Central Connecticut Health District at www.ccthd.org or through the district’s Facebook page.

Additional information about mosquito control can also be obtained from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station at www.ct.gov.caes and the state Department of Agriculture at www.ct.gov/doag.