The following press release was provided by Maura Esposito, Director of Health for the Killingworth Health Department:
As our summer progresses it seems that mosquitoes are everywhere. Mosquitos testing positive for West Nile Virus have been reported in various communities in our state. As heat and humidity occur, it favors breeding of these annoying pests. We in Connecticut are at risk of diseases caused by specific mosquitos found in our area. If we take precautions then we can reduce our risks of being bitten by an infected mosquito.
There are over 2500 species of mosquitos found in the world. While North America is home to about 200 species of mosquitoes, Connecticut has 49 known species. Most species in CT deposit their eggs in the fall and they hatch in the spring. They begin developing during the warm months with adults being prevalent from May to September.
Only certain species are associated with causing West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) which have been in the news lately. A mosquito becomes infected when it bites a bird that has the virus. The mosquito needs to find a blood source to feed her eggs. If you take precautions then you reduce your risk to this exposure. This virus is not spread from person to person or directly from birds to people under normal circumstances. You need to be bitten by an infected mosquito.
Unfortunately, certain people are more at risk of developing these diseases, particularly the elderly or people with compromised immune systems. Symptoms of WNV range from headaches, high fever, stiff neck, disorientation, to muscle weakness and in rare cases..death.
So how do you protect yourself?
The best way for people to protect themselves is to take personal protective measures to prevent mosquito bites. Residents are also asked to minimize the amount of standing water available for mosquito breeding. The Killingworth Health Department is urged you to reduce standing water around the home in a variety of ways. Such as:
- Dispose of unnecessary cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers that have accumulated on your property.
- Empty standing water from used or discarded tires that may have accumulated on your property (e.g. tire swings).
- Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers that are left out of doors.
- Clean clogged roof gutters on an annual basis, particularly if the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug up the drains.
- Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use.
- Turn over wheelbarrows.
- Change water in birdbaths and wading pools on a weekly basis.
- Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools that are not being used. Be aware that mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on swimming pool covers.