HARTFORD — Mayor Luke Bronin’s office announced Thursday that mosquitoes that were captured in Keney Park on August 1st have tested positive for the West Nile Virus.
While the tests were positive, the mayor’s office says there have been no reported cases of anyone with West Nile Virus in the city.
“We do not have any reported West Nile infections in Hartford, but we take this positive test seriously, and we encourage residents to take basic steps to prevent mosquito bites,” said Mayor Bronin.
Symptoms of West Nile range from a slight fever, headache, rash, swollen lymph nodes, and nausea to severe headaches, high fevers, stiff neck, disorientation, muscle weakness, and a coma.
The mayor’s office says the city actively works to control mosquito populations to reduce the possibility of transmitting illnesses by treating the city’s catch basins twice over the summer.
Kelsey Burger with Hartford Healthcare Go-Health Urgent Care stated, “West Nile Virus is a disease where 4 out of 5 people aren’t going to have or show any symptoms, so me and you could be infected and not even know it. For the 1 out of 5 people that are infected they are going to see fevers, chills, nausea, vomiting, rash, joint pains.. kind of very similar to Lyme Disease.”
Due to the summer months and standing water, the state has seen an increase in mosquito activity, but healthcare officials say only a small portion of people should be worried.
“It’s only a big deal if it bites somebody who is immune-compromised, so somebody who is a cancer patient, or on chemo therapy, somebody with kidney disease, diabetes, a young baby those people are going to be much more susceptible.,” said Burger.
DEEP closed down two campgrounds in the eastern part of the state because the EEE or Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus was found.
Mt. Misery campground and the nearby horse camp also known as the Frog Hollow Horse camp would be closed until further notice.
Health officials still say back at Keney park it’s okay to come to the area.
Liany Arroyo who is the Director of Health and Human Services said, “Go out, enjoy the pool, enjoy the park, enjoy the swings. You should absolutely go out; finding one mosquito doesn’t mean that there is hundreds of mosquitoes, it just means there is one. There may be others, but the risk of catching West Nile may be small, but for those who may catch it, we just want to make sure they know.”
Hartford Health officials say that you could protect yourself from bug bites by wearing light colored-clothes, wearing bugspray, or even just by protecting your bare skin.
“But the biggest thing, especially around your own property
Keney Park is also treated, as its wooded environment provides mosquitoes an ideal breeding location. The City’s Department of Health and Human Services recommends the following steps to avoid WNV or other mosquito-borne illnesses:
Preventing mosquito bites:
• Be aware that mosquitoes are most active between dusk and dawn and take preventative steps during that time.
• Be sure door and window screens are tight-fitting and in good repair.
• Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods, or when mosquitoes are most active. Clothing should be light-colored and made of tightly woven materials that keep mosquitoes away from the skin.
• Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in an unscreened structure and to protect small babies when outdoors.
• Use mosquito repellent, according to directions, when it is necessary to be outdoors.
Preventing mosquitoes at home:
• Dispose of water-holding containers such as ceramic pots, used tires, and tire swings.
• Drill holes in the bottom of containers such as those used for recycling.
• Clean clogged roof gutters.
• Turn over objects that may trap water when not in use such as wading pools and wheelbarrows.
• Change water in bird baths on a weekly basis.
• Use landscaping techniques to eliminate areas where water can collect on your property.