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Health officials announce CT's first human West Nile virus infection this season

Known as a vector for the West Nile virus, this Culex quinquefasciatus mosquito has landed on a human finger, 2003.
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Known as a vector for the West Nile virus, this Culex quinquefasciatus mosquito has landed on a human finger, 2003.

Connecticut officials announced Friday the first person to be infected with West Nile virus this summer, saying the risk of exposure to the mosquito-borne disease continues into the fall.

The woman is a resident of New Haven county in her 50s who has recovered since becoming ill with West Nile virus in July, the state Department of Public Health said in a statement.

Most people with the mosquito-borne disease don’t get symptoms, but people over 60 years old have a higher chance of getting sick.

About 1 in 5 people who are infected with West Nile virus can have symptoms like fever, body aches, joint pain, headache, or a rash. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 150 people can develop more severe symptoms to the central nervous system that can be fatal.

“We anticipate continued risk for human infection until mosquito activity subsides in October,” Philip Armstrong, a medical entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, said in a statement.

Over 40 mosquitoes trapped for the statewide Mosquito Management Program were found to have West Nile virus as of Friday, Aug. 18, according to the latest report.

West Nile virus has been detected annually since 1999 in Connecticut. It’s the most common mosquito-transmitted illness in the continental U.S. and there is currently no vaccine to prevent it.

People can avoid mosquito bites by limiting their time outside at dusk and dawn, using insect repellent recommended by the CDC and covering bare skin with tightly woven, loose-fitting clothing.

More on prevention and testing for West Nile virus can be found at ct.gov/mosquito.

As Connecticut Public's state government reporter, Michayla focuses on how policy decisions directly impact the state’s communities and livelihoods. She has been with Connecticut Public since February 2022, and before that was a producer and host for audio news outlets around New York state. When not on deadline, Michayla is probably outside with her rescue dog, Elphie. Thoughts? Jokes? Tips? Email msavitt@ctpublic.org.