MERIDEN — City officials are urging residents to take precaution after announcing Tuesday that mosquitoes recently found in Meriden were infected with the West Nile Virus.
Residents can reduce the risk of being bitten by minimizing time spent outdoors between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active, Health and Human Services Director Lea Crown said in a statement.
“I ask everyone to prevent mosquito bites by eliminating standing water around your home, making sure your door and window screens are in good repair, and covering bare skin and using insect repellent when outside,” Crown said.
The state’s Mosquito Management Program, a collaboration of multiple agencies, recently notified the city’s Health Department that the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station identified West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes in Meriden.
“While most people infected with the West Nile Virus do not develop any symptoms,” Crown said, “about one in five people develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.”
There have been no reports of humans or animals contracting the virus in Connecticut this summer. Since 2000, 134 human cases of the virus have been diagnosed in Connecticut, including three deaths.
Crown noted “some populations, such as those persons over 60 and those with certain medical conditions, can develop a more severe illness affecting the central nervous system such as encephalitis or meningitis.”
“Symptoms of severe illness include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis,” Crown said.