Mos­quito pop­u­la­tion falls; EEE still present

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - By Amanda Cuda

The num­ber of mosquitoes with a po­ten­tially deadly ill­ness is de­clin­ing in the state, but health au­thor­i­ties said res­i­dents should re­main vig­i­lant.

To date, three peo­ple in Con­necti­cut have died from Eastern Equine En­cephali­tis and a fourth was hos­pi­tal­ized with the ill­ness. But as the state heads deeper into fall, mosquitoes are less plen­ti­ful as is mosquito­borne dis­ease.

Be­tween Sept. 30 and Oct. 3, 1,405 mosquitoes were trapped in the state, said Philip Armstrong, re­search sci­en­tist and di­rec­tor of the mos­quito sur­veil­lance pro­gram at the Con­necti­cut Agri­cul­tural Ex­per­i­ment Sta­tion. That’s a steep drop from the previous col­lec­tion pe­riod, Sept. 23 to Sept. 26, when 3,042 mosquitoes were col­lected.

The num­ber of mosquitoes test­ing pos­i­tive for EEE is also fall­ing. Armstrong said be­tween Sept. 29 and Oct. 5, three mosquitoes

tested pos­i­tive for the ill­ness. The previous week, 11 mosquitoes tested pos­i­tive for the dis­ease.

“We con­tinue to de­tect EEE virus in mosquitoes but the num­ber of mosquitoes are de­clin­ing and the risk is go­ing down,” he said.

This season, at least 116 mosquitoes have tested pos­i­tive for EEE. By com­par­i­son, 82 have tested pos­i­tive for West Nile Virus, which is usu­ally the domi

nant mos­quito­borne ill­ness in the state.

Mosquitoes car­ry­ing EEE have also been found in towns where the virus isn’t typ­i­cally de­tected. For in­stance, the EEE­car­ry­ing mosquitoes that were found in two Fair­field County cities — Shel­ton and Stam­ford — are the first de­tected in the coun­try for roughly a decade.

The three EEE deaths this year have been the state’s first since 2013.

Ac­cord­ing to the Depart­ment of Pub­lic Health, about one­third of pa­tients

who de­velop EEE die from it. DPH said it takes four to 10 days af­ter the bite from an in­fected mos­quito for a per­son to de­velop symp­toms of EEE. Se­vere cases of the in­fec­tion lead to an in­flam­ma­tion of the brain. There is no spe­cific treat­ment for EEE.

Armstrong said mos­quito trap­ping and test­ing will con­tinue un­til the end of Oc­to­ber or the first hard frost which kills off the re­main­ing mosquitoes.

“A hard, or killing, frost oc­curs when tem­per­a­tures drop be­low 28 de­grees

Fahren­heit for a few con­sec­u­tive hours,” Armstrong said.

Mean­while, state of­fi­cials im­plore Con­necti­cut res­i­dents to pro­tect them­selves against mosquitoes.

“Min­i­mize time out­side af­ter dusk when the mosquitoes are feed­ing,” said state DPH spokesman Av Har­ris. “If you have to be out­side, use bug spray (in­sect re­pel­lent) and wear pro­tec­tive cloth­ing like long sleeve shirts and pants. If you feel symp­toms com­ing on, call your med­i­cal provider im­me­di­ately.”

Con­trib­uted photo

The state’s mos­quito pop­u­la­tion is de­clin­ing for the season, but of­fi­cials said res­i­dents should still be care­ful to avoid mos­quito­borne dis­eases. Three peo­ple in the state have died from Eastern Equine En­cephali­tis.

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