MERIDEN — State and local health officials and school administrators are monitoring mosquito testing in the wake of two deaths caused by the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus.
Mosquito trapping sites at Falcon Field in Meriden, Lock 12 in Cheshire, East Street and Kensington Road in Southington and South Elm Street in Wallingford have not yielded any positive results for EEE, West Nile virus or Jamestown Canyon virus, according to a report released Tuesday.
Infected mosquitoes have been found in at least 12 communities and the state is planning to flash EEE warnings on electric billboards around Connecticut, according to media reports. Medical experts say about one-third of those who contract EEE die, and 50 percent of survivors have brain damage.
Local officials are monitoring mosquito activity carefully in the event there need to be changes in Park and Recreation and after-school sports schedules. Cities and towns where mosquitoes have tested positive for viruses have cancelled some athletic events and other activities.
“Our office monitors the CAES (Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station) website weekly, if mosquitoes in Meriden test positive the state of Connecticut (will) call me directly,” Lea Crown, director of the city’s Department of Health and Human Services, wrote to school and city officials. “The prevention message is the same (as that) coming from the state of Connecticut Department of Public Health.
“... mosquitoes trapped in Meriden have not tested positive for EEE or West Nile Virus,” she added. “This DOES NOT mean that illness cannot happen in Meriden”
Crown urged residents to minimize time outdoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active. If you are outside during this time, consider mosquito repellent. She also suggested wearing socks, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors during dusk and dawn, or when in mosquito-infested areas, such as wetlands or woods.
There are 92 mosquito traps statewide and officials have increased that number in the southeastern part of the state, according to the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.
“We’re saying the whole eastern part of the state are areas of continued concern,” said station Director Theodore Andreadis. “We are recommending them curtailing early evening activity.”
Scientists at the station will continue monitoring mosquito activity through October or first hard frost, Andreadis said. But there is good news, the level of mosquito activity has dropped in recent days.
“It’s definitely slowing down,” he said.