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The original item was published from 8/4/2022 9:24:35 AM to 10/1/2022 12:00:00 AM.

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Health News

Posted on: August 4, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Fight the Bite!

This summer, the Norwalk Health Department (NHD) urges Norwalkers to prevent mosquito bites to avoid illness. NHD’s mosquito management program aims to help our residents avoid mosquito-borne illnesses through education, mosquito surveillance, and source reduction.
 

Education 

The best way to prevent mosquito-borne illness is to avoid mosquitoes. You can take some simple steps to reduce mosquitoes around your home and protect yourself. To avoid getting bitten: 

  • Apply mosquito repellent before going outdoors.
  • Cover bare skin with long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Avoid the outdoors between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Drain stagnant, standing water around your home in places like old tires, birdbaths, wading pools, garbage can lids, and even cans in recycle bins. (Standing water is breeding ground for mosquitoes.)
  • Keep gutters and leaders free of debris.
  • Install or repair window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
  • Do not leave swimming pools uncovered without chlorinating and filtering. 

Mosquito Surveillance

NHD works with state officials who monitor the mosquito population throughout the state. The CT Agricultural Experiment Station monitors two mosquito trapping locations in Norwalk habitats where mosquitoes breed. This monitoring allows NHD and state officials to gauge the local mosquito population and take appropriate prevention measures based on population estimates.

Source Reduction

The Health Department contracts with an outside agency to conduct an annual larvicide program to reduce the mosquito population. In the summer months, workers from All Habitat Inc. apply larvicide to various standing water locations and catch basins around the city. This application prevents mosquito eggs from hatching. This year, the larvicide application is scheduled for mid-August.

Mosquito-borne Illness 

Infected mosquitoes can transmit disease to humans through bites. One of the most common mosquito-borne illnesses transmitted in the United States is West Nile Virus. Anyone can be infected with WNV, but according to Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH), most people infected with WNV do not develop symptoms. About 1 in 100 people who are infected develop mild illness, and even fewer infected people develop a serious and sometimes fatal illness. Older adults and individuals with compromised immune systems are at highest risk for serious illness. 

 Another rare but very serious illness that can be transmitted to humans from mosquitoes is EEE. CT DPH notes that an average of six cases of EEE occur each year in the entire United States. There is no cure for EEE and 3 of every 10 people who get it die from it. Survivors may experience lifelong neurological disabilities. Symptoms (e.g., high fever, headache, tiredness, nausea/vomiting, neck stiffness) usually occur 3-10 days after a bite from an infected mosquito. 

Aside from West Nile Virus and EEE, there are other mosquito-borne illnesses that can affect humans. The best way to avoid becoming ill is to prevent mosquito bites. 

For more information:

 

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