West Nile virus found in nearby mosquito

The West Nile virus has been detected in a culex mosquito tested in Norwalk, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Sciences confirmed today.

The virus was first detected yesterday in a mosquito that was tested on July 2.

“It’s just starting now, but it’s going to keep building in the coming weeks and I’m sure it will spread to other communities,” said Dr. Ted Andreadis of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES).

“It’s extremely important that the public takes precaution with mosquito biting now that the virus has been detected.”

He said that lower Fairfield County is a hotspot for the disease to spread and to be detected in people, most notably along I-95 and the Meritt Parkway.

“Ridgefield is a little bit out of the hotspot zone,” Dr. Andreadis said.

He said the mosquitoes are most aggressive during the early morning and the early evening.

He added the weather conditions are ideal for the virus to spread.

High temperatures develop the disease, while an increase in humidity increases mosquitoes’ biting activity.

In addition, frequent rain allows them to stick around and repopulate.

“The recent conditions have created a perfect storm of humidity, constant rain and high temperatures,” he said.

Dr. Andreadis predicts the peak of the virus will occur in the middle of August.

He added that this year’s first discovery was a bit later than last year’s, when the CAES detected the virus on June 26.

“The number of culex mosquitoes we had been trapping and testing was significantly lower compared to last year,” he said. “This is what caused the slight delay this year, but now that the virus has been detected it goes whichever way they go.”

Dr. Andreadis explained that “floodwater mosquitoes” are more common in this area and that the CAES traps more than 1,000 per day.

One of the traps is in Great Swamp in Ridgefield.

“These are the very aggressive human biters that people complain about the most,” he said. “Fortunately, they don’t care the virus, but it could bridge over to their species in the coming weeks.”

Last year, there were 21 reported cases of West Nile virus in Connecticut   and over 5,000 across the country.

“We will see it build up, but hopefully not as bad as last year,” Dr. Andreadis said.

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