Mosquitoes trapped at Beacon Point in Stratford have tested positive for West Nile Virus, according to the Stratford Health Department.
The Culex pipiens and Culex restuans mosquitoes were trapped there July 24, the health department said in a news release.
“It’s that time of year again where we start to see positive mosquitoes,” Andrea Boissevain, director of health, said. “So, we urge residents to take quick and easy steps to prevent exposure and bites. It takes a village to fight the bite!”
According to Environmental Conservation Administrator Brian Carey, the best way to avoid West Nile is to block mosquitoes from getting inside you home by keeping windows and door screens closed tightly and securely and to "get rid of standing water in flower pots," bird baths, trash cans and lids, "anything that collects water" to make less places available for mosquitoes to breed.
Symptoms of West Nile Virus include mild illness, fever, headaches, body aches, nausea, vomiting and skin rashes, according to Stratford's health department. In rare more severe cases, the virus can cause neck stiffness, disorientation, loss of consciousness, tremors, muscle weakness and paralysis, the health department said. Contracting West Nile Virus as an adult results in more severe symptoms.
Carey provided the following tips for how to best ward of mosquitoes and avoid bites:
- Put recyclables upside-down in your bin so that it won't collect water.
- Clean swimming pools and pool covers regularly and put chlorine in the water if you're not using them.
- Clean any clogged gutters.
- Drill holes in recycling bin bases.
- Check commercial buildings with flat roofs for water puddles to "reduce mosquito-breeding sites."
- Spend less time outside at dusk and dawn, times "when mosquitoes are most active."
- Make sure your door and window screens are tight.
- When outside for a long time, wear shoes, socks, pants and long sleeve shirts to avoid mosquito bites. Light-colored clothing that are tightly woven help reduce the chance that mosquitoes will bite you.
- Put mosquito netting up around you if you are sleeping outside or in "an unscreened structure" or around small babies you bring outside.
- Use mosquito spray when you're outside.
More information on the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station's efforts for "mosquito surveillance control and mosquito-borne diseases," you can visit www.caes.state.ct.us. The Stratford Health Department also has more information on West Nile Virus and mosquito control on its website.