Published: Fri, August 25, 2017
Health Care | By Jeffery Armstrong

MSDH reports two West Nile Virus deaths in the state

MSDH reports two West Nile Virus deaths in the state

Mosquitoes tested positive this season for West Nile Virus in 20 towns throughout CT. "There's been one documented human case of James Canyon virus in the state of Connecticut" since the mosquito program began", he said. Last year, 13 cases of West Nile infection were reported among Wisconsin residents.

Use a mosquito repellent with an EPA-registered ingredient such as DEET while you are outdoors. "West Nile virus is very serious especially for the elderly, the very young and the chronically ill".

Traps created to catch mosquitoes at six different locations in the county have turned up mosquitoes carrying the virus, but it's too early to know if any humans were exposed, Ed Kalas, Shawnee County Health Department environmental and community health manager, told the county commission Thursday.

The most common species to carry West Nile is the northern house mosquito, Culex pipiens, which feeds mainly on birds, Armstrong said. "Finding West Nile virus in mosquitoes from more than half of Indiana's counties means that the risk is increasing statewide". Since 2000, 131 human cases of the illness have been reported, including three fatalities. One individual also has contracted the disease.

Up to 20 percent of people who become infected will have milder symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back.

About one in 150 people infected will develop severe illness.

The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) anticipates increased West Nile activity statewide throughout mosquito season, lasting until the first hard freeze of the year around late October. "We are seeing it further spread to the North in the Hartford area", said Dr. Armstrong. Another horse was diagnosed with Eastern equine encephalitis, also a mosquito-borne virus, and both horses had to be euthanized, she said.

Babesiosis symptoms are similar to the flu, although severe cases can cause anemia that leads to organ failure.

The Centers for Disease Control reported an increase in babesiosis cases in CT from 74 in 2011 to 205 in 2014.

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