The Health Department will launch its annual larvicide application program in August to reduce the mosquito population and prevent mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). Workers from All Habitat Inc. will apply larvicide to various standing water locations around the city, which prevents mosquito eggs from hatching. In mid-August the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) announced
this year’s first human case of WNV in Connecticut in a Waterbury resident, who may have been exposed to WNV in the Newington/Wethersfield area.
In 2018, 23 human cases of WNV were reported in Connecticut, including one in Norwalk. According to CT DPH, most people infected with WNV do not develop symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms, and even fewer (about 1 out of 150) infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness. People over 50 years old are at highest risk for serious illness.
EEE is extremely rare in humans, but it is very serious. Since the year 2000, CT has had 5 human cases, and 3 of those people have died. Overall, EEE has a 30%-50% mortality rate and survivors may experience lifelong neurological disabilities. Symptoms (e.g., high fever, headache, tiredness, nausea/vomiting, neck stiffness) usually occur 4-10 days after a bite from an infected mosquito.
The best way to prevent mosquito-borne illness is to avoid mosquitoes. The larvicide application is just one part of the Health Department’s mosquito management program. In addition to larviciding and working with state officials to monitor the mosquito population, the Health Department also works to help residents understand how to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
To avoid getting bitten:
- Apply mosquito repellent before going outdoors.
- Cover bare skin.
- Avoid outdoors between dusk and dawn.
- Drain stagnant, standing water around your home in places like old tires, birdbaths, wading pools, garbage can lids, and even cans in recycle bins.
- Keep gutters and leaders free of debris.
- Install or repair window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
- Do not leave swimming pools uncovered without chlorinating and filtering.
For more information:
- Norwalk Health Department: https://www.norwalkct.org/761/Mosquitoes-andWest-Nile-Virus
- CT DPH: https://www.ct.gov/mosquito
- CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/mosquitoes/