Though the state can expect a few more weeks of biting mosquitoes, West Nile Virus activity in the state has largely died down, said Theodore Andreadis, chief of medical entomology for the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven.
Andreadis said, so far this season, mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile in 36 towns and there have been nine human cases of the disease, including at least two in Bridgeport. There were no human fatalities this year, though eight of the nine West Nile victims were hospitalized. The ages of the victims ranged from the mid-40s to the mid-80s.
There was also one can of West Nile in a horse — the first since 2003, Andreadis said. The horse died of the illness.
There has been no Eastern Equine Encephalitis detected in the state this year.
Though testing is still going on, Andreadis said West Nile activity has dwindled. However, if you’ve noticed that you’re still getting bitten — despite the fact that it’s mid-October — Andreadis said you’re not alone. Due to the recent rain and high temperatures, the mosquito season is expected to be a little longer than usual.
“As long as the weather remains mild, biting activity will continue,” he said.
Last year, there were 11 human cases of West Nile, nine of them acquired in Connecticut, and WNV-positive mosquitoes were trapped in 24 municipalities. While most people do not become severely ill from West Nile virus, people over the age of 50 are more likely to become ill and develop serious symptoms when infected.
Andreadis said he expected more people to get West Nile, given the prevalence of infected mosquitoes. However, West Nile activity dropped significantly after Tropical Storm Irene hit in late August, he said. “Were it not for the storm, there would have been even more human cases.”
Andreadis said he doesn’t know whether West Nile activity will continue to be strong next summer, but, if we get another hot summer, it’s likely that WNV-positive mosquitoes will continue to pop up.