West Nile Virus

Conn. Resident Tests Positive for West Nile Virus, Marking First Human Case of 2020

A Connecticut resident has tested positive for West Nile Virus, marking the first human case in the state this year.

State Dept. of Public Health officials said the person who tested positive for West Nile Virus is between 40 and 49 years old and became ill during the second week of July. Authorities said laboratory tests confirmed the presence of antibodies to West Nile Virus.

The person who tested positive for West Nile Virus lives in Waterbury, public health officials said, but may have been exposed to it in the Newington or Wethersfield area. He or she is recovering.

“The identification of a Connecticut resident with West Nile virus associated illness emphasizes the need to take actions to prevent mosquito bites," said DPH Acting Commissioner Dr. Diedre S. Gifford.

Doctors said West Nile Virus should be on your radar as people are spending more time gathering outside and are even eating meals outside because of COVID-19.

Some patients don't experience any symptoms. Others could get muscle aches, headaches, fever and fatigues.

“A very small fraction, less than 1 percent will develop neurologic complications either inflammation of the brain known encephalitis, meningitis and in some cases paralysis that looks very much like polio. Again that’s a minority but it’s obviously an illness you want to avoid at all costs," said Hospital of Central Connecticut Chief of Medicine & Hospital Epidemiologist Dr. Joseph Garner.

According to doctors, there are no specific treatments, so you'll want to do your best to prevent getting a mosquito bite in the first place.

"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," Gifford added.

Officials said West Nile Virus is the most prevalent mosquito-borne disease in the United States and has been detected in Connecticut every year since 1999.

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