Connecticut state health officials reported this week on the first human West Nile virus (WNV) cases of 2018.

Image/National Atlas of the United States
Image/National Atlas of the United States

The patients, residents of Fairfield and Newington, who are between 60-79 years of age, became ill during the last week of July with encephalitis, were hospitalized, and are recovering. One remains hospitalized. Laboratory tests confirmed the presence of antibodies to WNV. These persons did not travel out of the state before becoming ill.

“The identification of two Connecticut residents with West Nile virus associated illness that required hospitalization underscores the potential seriousness of infection,” said Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino. “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.”

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West Nile virus has been detected in the state every year since 1999. Before 2018, 134 human cases of WNV were diagnosed in Connecticut residents including three fatalities.

Most people (8 out of 10) infected with WNV do not develop symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms. About 1 out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness.