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Two Fall Ill With West Nile Virus In Bridgeport; First Human Cases In State

In Connecticut, the West Nile risk is highest during August and September and typically subsides in October as mosquitoes die off due to lower temperatures.
In Connecticut, the West Nile risk is highest during August and September and typically subsides in October as mosquitoes die off due to lower temperatures. Photo Credit: File

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Two Bridgeport residents have tested positive for the West Nile virus infection, the first human cases identified in Connecticut this season, the state Department of Public Health announced Thursday.

The department warned residents of the seriousness of infection during mosquito season.

One patient, between the age of 40 and 49, became ill during the third week of August with meningitis.

The other patient, between the age of 70 and 79, became ill during the fourth week of August with encephalitis.

Both patients suffered from fever, nausea, vomiting and weakness. Both were hospitalized and have been discharged.

Laboratory tests confirmed the presence of antibodies to WNV, the health department's State Mosquito Management Program said. Neither patient had traveled out of the state before the onset of the illness.

"The identification of Connecticut residents with West Nile virus associated illness that required hospitalization underscores the potential seriousness of infection,” said Department of Public Health veterinarian, Dr. Randall Nelson.

“Using insect repellant, covering bare skin and avoiding being outdoors during the hours of dusk and dawn are effective ways to help keep you from being bitten.”

Dr. Philip Armstrong, medical entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, warned of the continued danger posed by mosquitoes.

“We continue to have weather conditions that are favorable for the mosquitoes that transmit West Nile virus,” said Armstrong. “These mosquitoes are most abundant in urban and suburban areas with dense human populations."

This year, WNV-positive mosquitoes have now been identified in 20 towns: Bridgeport, Cheshire, Chester, Darien, East Haven, Glastonbury, Greenwich, Groton, Guilford, Hartford, New Haven, Norwalk, Stamford, Stonington, Stratford, Waterford, West Haven, Westport, Wethersfield and Wilton.

In Connecticut last year, six people were infected with West Nile and five were hospitalized.

Massachusetts has also seen two cases of West Nile this year. New Jersey has seen seven human cases, with one fatality.

For information on West Nile virus and EEE, including how to prevent mosquito bites, visit the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program website .

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