First Human Case of West Nile Virus Reported in New Haven County

mosquito sample west nile
NBC 5 News

A New Haven County resident has tested positive for West Nile virus, becoming the first human case in Connecticut this season.

The Department of Public Health said a man in his 70s became sick the second week of August and was admitted to a local hospital where he was diagnosed with West Nile virus encephalitis.

The man was discharged from the hospital last week and he's currently recovering at a rehab facility.

"The identification of the first case of West Nile virus-associated illness emphasizes the potential seriousness of this infection," said DPH Commissioner Manisha Juthani, MD.

West Nile virus has been detected in Connecticut every year since 1999 and it's the most prevalent mosquito-borne disease in the United States, a DPH spokesperson said.

"As we approach the cooler weather and the holiday weekend, it still is important to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 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," Juthani said.

State officials are warning Connecticut residents about the increased risk of infection as nearly two dozen towns have detected West Nile virus in mosquitoes.

The news comes a day after the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) said a total of 23 towns in Connecticut have reported mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus.

Most people who become infected with the virus don't develop symptoms and about one in five people who are infected develop West Nile fever, an illness which includes a fever and other symptoms such as body aches, joint pain, headache or a rash.

Director of CAES Dr. Jason White said August and September are the months when people are at the greatest risk of contracting West Nile virus.

Additional information and resources on how to prevent mosquito bites can be found here.

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