The Centers for Disease Control have reported the most cases of West Nile virus since the infection was found in the United States in 1999. , along with 46 other states, have had more than a thousand cases of the infection found in people.
The 1,118 cases reported so far in 2012 is the highest number of West Nile virus cases reported to CDC through the third week in August. Out of those cases, 41 people have died but none of the victims were in Connecticut.
Mosquitoes breed in small collections of stagnant water, are common around people’s homes and often bite people indoors. While few mosquitoes may be noticed outdoors, those that are present and biting are likely to be the type that potentially carry the virus.
The end of summer is when mosquitoes are older and more likely to carry the virus. The types of mosquitoes that transmit the virus bite during evening and nighttime hours.
Most people bitten by an infected mosquito show no symptoms of illness. However, some become sick three to 15 days after exposure. People 50 and older are more susceptible to severe disease symptoms.
The following steps can be taken to avoid West Nile virus:
- Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes out of buildings.
- Empty water from mosquito breeding sites such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes lay eggs.
- Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other EPA approved repellent to exposed skin or clothing, especially during peak mosquito activity periods such as dusk and dawn.
- Wear light colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.
For more information, visit the state's Department of Public Health at http://www.ct.gov/dph/cwp/view.asp?a=3136&q=396192 or the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm.