According to the Central Connecticut Health District, the mosquitoes that tested positive for the virus are in the Culex family.
They are most active at dawn and dusk and will bite humans as well as other mammals and birds. The majority of Culex mosquitoes breed in standing water and others are found in freshwater and saltwater marshes, lakes and ponds.
The health district said mosquito testing, which began in June is expected to continue through the late fall. Test results are reported once a week by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.
Mosquitos are collected from over 90 test sites across Connecticut to test for viruses including West Nile, Zika and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.
West Nile-infected mosquitoes have been found in 19 towns this year, including Bethany, Bridgeport, Darien, East Haven, Easton, Franklin, Greenwich, Hartford, Madison, Manchester, Meriden, New Canaan, New Haven, Stamford, Stratford, Waterbury, Waterford, West Haven and Weston, according to health officials.
There have been no human cases of West Nile this year in Connecticut, the health district said, but residents can take the following precautions to prevent mosquito-borne illness:
- Wear clothing made of tightly woven fabric that covers the entire body.
- Cover children’s playpens or baby carriages with netting when outdoors.
- Drain any standing water in your yard. Mosquitoes only need a few tablespoons of water to lay eggs.
- Clean your gutters and flush birdbaths or fountains once a week.
- Use effective insect repellent such as DEET or Picaridin.
According to an announcement from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s office, the rates of mosquitoes carrying West Nile have been much higher this year.
In the third week of July, 28 mosquito samples tested positive for West Nile — 12 more cases than the average 16 typically reported at that time for the past 12 years, according to the governor’s office. Officials first began seeing a significant increase in early July and the trend has continued as the humid months wear on.
Since 2000, 134 cases of the virus have been diagnosed in Connecticut residents and three people have died after being infected with the virus.
Courant staff writer Ruth Bruno contributed to this report.