Testing Begins For Mosquito-Borne Illnesses In Connecticut

Jun 5, 2018

Mosquito season has begun -- and state officials say they’re on the lookout for two viruses that can get people sick: West Nile and eastern equine encephalitis. Meanwhile, another mosquito-borne illness, the Zika-virus, is yet to be acquired in the state.

Patients have tested positive for Zika in Connecticut. But the Department of Public Health said they didn’t get it here.

Instead, the small handful of Zika cases the state has seen came from travellers who visited spots like Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic, where mosquitoes are known to spread Zika.

The CDC recommends pregnant women avoid both spots due to possible birth defects associated with the disease.

Meanwhile in Connecticut, officials have begun testing for two viruses state mosquitoes are known to spread -- West Nile and eastern equine encephalitis.

“We’re going to be monitoring mosquitoes for the presence of viruses that cause human illness,” said Philip Armstrong, with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. “Trapping mosquitoes in some 91 locations statewide, from now … into October.”

“For the viruses that we’re primarily concerned with - like with West Nile virus - they tend to occur later in the summer,” Armstrong said, “so really the time of peak risk will be in August and even into September.”

Last year, most detections of West Nile occurred in Fairfield, New Haven, and Hartford counties.

Three people were reported infected with no associated deaths.