The Connecticut Department of Public Health announced Friday that a Connecticut resident has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV) infection. This is the first case of WNV-associated illness identified in Connecticut this season.
The male patient is a resident of New Haven County and is between 70 – 79 years of age. He became ill the second week of August and was admitted to a local hospital where he was diagnosed with WNV encephalitis. He was discharged from the hospital last week and he is recovering at a rehab facility.
“The identification of the first case of West Nile virus-associated illness emphasizes the potential seriousness of this infection,” said DPH Commissioner Manisha Juthani, MD. “As we approach the cooler weather and the holiday weekend, it still is important to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Using insect repellent, covering bare skin, and avoiding being outdoors during the hours of dusk and dawn are effective ways to help keep you from being bitten by mosquitoes.”
“The mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus are most abundant in urban and suburban areas and are most active between dusk and dawn. We anticipate continued risk for human infection until mosquito activity subsides in October,” added Philip Armstrong, ScD, medical entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.
West Nile virus has been detected in Connecticut every year since1999 and is the most prevalent mosquito-borne disease in the US. Most people (eight out of 10) infected with WNV do not develop symptoms. About one in five people who are infected develop West Nile fever, an illness which includes a fever and other symptoms such as body aches, joint pain, headache, or a rash. About one out of 150 infected people develop a severe illness affecting the central nervous system. About one out of 10 cases of severe illness are fatal. People over the age of 60 are at highest risk of serious illness.
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