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Greenwich Warns of Mosquitoes, West Nile

Warm weather has brought a wave of mosquitoes and the risk of West Nile Virus to Greenwich, the town’s health department says.

People bitten by infected mosquitoes usually get headaches and a mild fever–or no symptoms at all. About one person in 100 gets sicker and people over 50 are most at risk of becoming seriously ill, the health department says.

There were 11 human cases of West Nile Virus in Connecticut last year, the town says.

The town will begin spraying catch basins later this month, and residents should get rid of standing water on their property. The highest risk of infection comes in August and September, says Michael S. Long, the town’s director of environmental services.

The town recommends the following precautions:

? Stay indoors at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.

? When outdoors, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants. and use mosquito repellent. Some repellents should not be used on small children–check the label.

? Don’t camp overnight near stagnant or standing water.

? If you dispose of a dead animal, handle with gloves or bag the animal without touching it.

To clean up yards and homes:

? Get rid of old tires, tin cans, buckets, drums, bottles or any water-holding containers.

? Fill in or drain puddles and ruts in your yard.

? Keep gutters, drains, ditches and culverts clean of weeds and trash so water will drain properly.

? Cover trash containers to keep out rain water.

? Repair leaky pipes and outside faucets.

? Empty plastic wading pools at least once a week and store indoors when not in use.

? Make sure your backyard pool is properly chlorinated every day.

? Use sand or concrete to fill in rot holes in trees and hollow stumps that hold water

? Change the water in birdbaths, plant pots and drip trays at least once each week.

? Keep grass cut short and shrubbery well-trimmed.

? Eliminate collected water in boat or pool covers.

? Ponds and bodies of stagnant water that do not support fish, frogs or other amphibians that eat mosquito larvae may be treated with a biological control agent. It is suggested that the Department of Health or Greenwich Conservation Commission be contacted when treatment is considered.

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