Health Department: Eliminate mosquito breeding areas
Summer is here and so are the mosquitoes. The Trumbull Health Department encourages residents to take precautions and to be vigilant in preventing mosquito breeding areas around the home. There are many different types of mosquitos and they carry different types of diseases. 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 (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord). The elderly and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk. The risk of being infected with West Nile can be reduced by using insect repellent and wearing 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 infections 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.
“The Trumbull Health Department encourages all homeowners to remove standing water on their property,” said Health Director Rhonda Capuano. “Mosquitoes do not need a lot of water to breed. The best prevention of mosquito borne diseases is to prevent mosquito breeding areas around the home.”
Follow the tips below to ensure a safe and healthy summer:
- Wear long sleeved shirts and long pants, when appropriate. Loose fitting, light colors work best.
- Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered insect repellents. When used as directed, EPA registered insect repellants are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Always follow the product label instructions. Do not use repellent on babies younger than 2 months of age.
- Cover arms and legs of children playing near standing water.
- Cover playpens and carriages with mosquito netting.
- Remove objects that can hold standing water such as tin cans, tires, buckets, or bottles.
- 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 are placed into standing water that cannot be drained or removed and will kill mosquito larvae. 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.