The Health Department has begun its multistep West Nile Virus (WNV) protection strategy, which includes reducing sources of mosquitoes, controlling mosquito larvae (mosquitoes that haven’t yet grown into adults), working with the state to monitor the mosquito population, and spreading the word to Norwalk residents about personal protection measures.
In late July, the Health Department launched its larvicide application program to reduce the mosquito population. Through this program, larvicide is applied to storm drains and various standing water locations around the city to prevent mosquito eggs from hatching.
This step is important in preventing WNV, because people get the virus through mosquito bites. Chances are low that a person would become ill from a single mosquito bite. In fact, most people who are infected with WNV experience no symptoms at all. Still, the virus can cause serious illness in some people, especially those older than 50 years old. Symptoms include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, and/or disorientation. According to state officials, there were 21 reported cases of WNV infection in Connecticut residents last year.
In addition to the larvicide program, the Health Department also urges everyone to take simple steps to avoid contact with mosquitoes:
- Use mosquito repellent when going outdoors.
- Avoid outdoor activity or use extra caution in the early morning and early evening hours, when mosquitoes are most active.
- Drain all collections of stagnant water, such as old tires, birdbaths, wading pools, garbage can lids, gutters, and 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.
Visit these sites for more information on West Nile virus, efforts to control mosquitoes and WNV in Connecticut, and WNV statistics in CT.