INFORMATION ABOUT MOSQUITO MANAGEMENT, PERSONAL PROTECTION AND THE WEST NILE VIRUS
|| FIGHT the BITE
What is West Nile Virus?
West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne viral infection that can cause inflammation of the brain. The main host of this virus is the wild bird community (like crows). You can get West Nile Virus from the bite of an infected mosquito. The virus does not spread from person to person, nor is it spread from an infected bird to humans.
Mosquitoes are small flying insects that feed on human and animal blood or plant juices. Only female mosquitoes bite to get a blood meal for their growing eggs. While mosquitoes are generally considered a nuisance, they occasionally can transmit disease. While there are about 43 different species of mosquitoes in the State of Connecticut, most mosquitoes do not transmit West Nile virus
Where do Mosquitoes Live and Breed?
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water that stands more than four days around the home. Weeds, tall grass and shrubbery provide an outdoor home for mosquitoes, which also may enter houses through unscreened windows or doors or broken screens.
When are Mosquitoes Most Active?
Mosquitoes are most active between dusk and dawn when the air is calm, and that is when the females are most likely to bite. However, they may be present at any time of the day..
Protecting Your Home
Mosquitoes can develop in any stagnant water that lasts more than 4 days. To reduce the mosquito population around your home and property:
- Reduce or eliminate all stagnant water.
- Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water holding containers.
- Remove all discarded tires on your property. Used tires have become the most common mosquito breeding site in the country.
- Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are kept outdoors.
- Make sure roof gutters drain properly, and clean clogged gutters in the spring and fall.
- Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
- Change the water in birdbaths.
- Clean vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs.
- Drain water from pool covers.
- Use landscaping to eliminate stagnant water that collects on your property.
- Make sure all windows and doors have screens, and that all screens are in good repair.
West Nile Virus and Encephalitis
Viral encephalitis or people infected with the West Nile Virus may not have any symptoms at all; mild cases may include a slight fever and/or headache. Severe infections are marked by a rapid onset of a high fever, head and body aches, and usually occur five to fifteen days after exposure. There is no specific treatment for viral infections, other than to treat the symptoms and provide supportive care. Those who may be most susceptible to encephalitis are infants, the elderly and persons with weakened immune systems.
The following precautions are recommended when participating in outdoor activities:
- Minimize outdoor activities between dusk and dawn.
- Wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods of time, or when mosquitoes are most active.
- Cover outdoor playpens with mosquito netting.
- Consider the use of mosquito repellent when it is necessary to be outdoors, and use according to product directions.
Proper Use of Insect Repellents
Insect repellents containing DEET can be effective, if used according to the manufacturer's directions. Products containing DEET have occasionally been associated with some health problems (skin reactions, including rash, swelling and itching; eye irritation; and less frequently, slurred speech, confusion and seizures). The following precautions are recommended when using insect repellents containing DEET:
- Always follow the directions on the label.
- Insect repellents are not recommended for use on children under 2 years old or for pregnant women.
- Use sparingly on children under 6 years old (the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that products with no more than 10 percent of DEET be used on any child).
- Do not use excessive amounts.
- Do not apply on broken or damaged skin.
- Avoid application on face and hands.
- Wash off when returning indoors.
- Do not spray in an enclosed area or near food.
- Apply products to the clothing of children rather than directly on the skin.
- If you are outdoors for long periods of time and you swim or sweat, you may have to reapply the product as it will dilute.
- Avoid applying repellent under clothes.
- Avoid breathing mist when spraying repellent.
If you believe someone is having an adverse reaction to a repellent containing DEET, wash the treated area immediately and contact your health care provider or the local Poison Control Center at: 1-800-343-2722
For more information call:
New Haven Health Department
54 Meadow Street
New Haven, CT 06519
City of New Haven
John DeStefano, Jr. Mayor
Department of Health
Mario Garcia, MD, MSc, MPH, Director