State Mosquito Monitoring Program Expands to Over 100 Sites

The Connecticut Mosquito Management Program Begins Today

Daniela Doncel
June 01, 2020 - 5:57 pm

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTIC Radio) - The State of Connecticut Mosquito Management Program has added 16 new trapping locations in Connecticut to increase coverage in high risk areas for eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus.

The mosquito trapping and testing program has expanded from 92 to 108 monitoring sites this year, according to the program director, Dr. Philip Armstrong, a research scientist at The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. 

The new monitoring sites are mainly in eastern Connecticut, a high risk area for EEE, to cover some gaps in coverage that was noticed last year, Armstrong said.

In 2019, a resurgence of EEE virus activity led to three fatalities in Connecticut. Armstrong said this was part of a region-wide increase that also affected neighboring states like Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

"We're really just trying to plug a lot of the gaps and really give us a higher trap coverage in that region, so that we're in a better position to detect the virus early and respond early," Armstrong said.

It is anticipated that the EEE virus will return this year, but Armstrong said he suspects it likely won't be as severe as last year, calling 2019 a "very, very unusual year" in virus activity.

The monitoring sites are spread across 87 municipalities. The program begins Monday, June 1, and will run until the end of the mosquito season which, Armstrong said, is when the first hard frost hits the state. He said that's typically around the end of October.

Besides EEE, Armstrong said mosquitoes will also be tested for West Nile Virus. According to Public Health officials, mosquito-borne diseases like EEE and West Nile virus can cause life-threatening diseases like encephalitis and meningitis. Officials are reminding residents to take extra precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Those extra precautions, according to Armstrong, include wearing EPA-approved mosquito repellent, wearing long sleeves to avoid bites and when possible, avoiding being outside at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

Armstrong said steps can also be taken around the home such as repairing any broken screen doors or windows and dumping out any built up-water outside the home at least once a week, like bird baths and buckets, to avoid breeding spots for mosquitoes. 

More information about mosquito trapping and testing can be found on the Connecticut state website.