NORWALK, Conn. – Mosquitoes recently found in Norwalk have tested positive for the West Nile virus, Norwalk Health Director Tim Callahan said Friday.
The mosquitoes carrying the disease were captured in the city July 2 and tested by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven. The discovery has led city and state officials to issue alerts for residents to be careful outdoors for the next several weeks, which is the traditional mosquito season.
“Mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus are found every season,” said Callahan. “This year’s finding is earlier than usual but not surprising.”
For most people, contracting the West Nile virus from a mosquito bite would not have a serious effect, other than possibly a minor headaches or fever, according to the Mayo Clinic.
However, for a small percentage of people, the virus can result in a life-threatening illness such as inflammation of the brain.
The minor symptoms generally go away on their own after a couple of days, but in the case of severe symptoms – serious headaches or fever, disorientation or sudden weakness – immediate medical attention is needed.
Mosquitoes breed in moist conditions in and around standing water, Callahan said.
“There are more mosquitoes due to the abundance of rain last month,” he said.
To avoid being bitten, Callahan recommends wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when working outdoors and applying mosquito repellent with Deet.
Additionally, clear standing water in puddles, house gutters, bird baths and other areas, and try to avoid being outside at dusk and in the early morning when mosquitoes at their most active.