Health Department: Help fight diseases by draining standing water
The Trumbull Health Department is encouraging residents to be vigilant about preventing mosquito breeding areas around their homes. Mosquitoes breed in standing water, the amount of rain Trumbull has received this spring means that mosquitoes can breed in places like wheelbarrows, tires, bird baths and garbage can lids.
“There are many different types of mosquitos and they carry different types of diseases,” said Health Director Rhonda Capuano. “The two mosquito diseases of concern for Connecticut residents are West Nile virus and Zika virus.”
West Nile virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. The common house mosquito, culex pipien, is considered to be the primary vector. West Nile can cause a range of symptoms, from very mild to severe, including high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, paralysis, encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord). The elderly and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk. To minimize the risk of contracting West Nile, use insect repellent and wear protective clothing to prevent mosquito bites.
Zika virus is the newest emerging infectious disease caused by mosquitoes in the U.S. The virus is transmitted primarily by aedes aegypti, the mosquitoes that are aggressive daytime biters. They can also bite at night and can be found in buildings. They become infected when they bite a person already infected with the virus and can then transmit the virus when they bite another person. Aedes aegypti is not found in Connecticut but a related species, Aedes albopictus, has been identified in the southwestern area of the state and it is also considered capable of transmission of the zika virus.
Those infected with zika have relatively mild illnesses that are rarely fatal. Symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). Symptoms can last for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Many people may not realize they have been infected. An increase in birth defects among infants born to women infected during pregnancy is associated with the virus, as well as other severe fatal brain defects.
Follow the tips below to ensure a safe and healthy summer:
- Wear long sleeved shirts and long pants. Loose fitting, light colors work best;
- Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens;.
- Use EPA-registered insect repellents and always follow the product label instructions;
- Cover arms and legs of children playing near standing water;
- Cover playpens and carriages with mosquito netting;
- Remove objects that can hold standing water;
- Fix holes in screens and attach properly to windows.
The Trumbull Health Department has mosquito dunks available for residents. There is no charge for the dunks and will be available while supplies last. The mosquito dunks will kill mosquito larvae in containers and bodies of water that cannot be removed or emptied. They are effective for up to 30 wet days. Dunks can be picked up at the Health Department during normal business hours, Monday – Friday, from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
For more information on mosquito borne diseases visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov.