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Rare mosquito-borne Jamestown Canyon virus found in Meriden

MERIDEN — Mosquitos trapped on Aug. 16 by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in Meriden have tested positive for Jamestown Canyon virus. The Meriden testing site is Falcon Field.

“I ask everyone to prevent mosquito bites by eliminating standing water around your home, making sure your door and window screens are in good repair, and covering bare skin and using insect repellent when outside – especially at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active,” Lea Crown, director of Health and Human Services, said in a public health notice.

There have been six cases of human infection of the virus nationwide. No human cases have been in Connecticut.

While many people infected with Jamestown Canyon virus do not develop any symptoms, individuals can develop symptoms such as fever, fatigue and headache. Some may have respiratory symptoms such as cough, sore throat or runny nose.

Jamestown Canyon virus can cause severe disease affecting the central nervous system such as encephalitis or meningitis. Symptoms of severe illness include neck stiffness, confusion, loss of coordination difficulty speaking or seizures. See your healthcare provider if you develop the symptoms described.

To reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes, the Meriden Department of Health and Human Services recommends that residents should:

Minimize time spent outdoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

Be sure door and window screens are tight fitting and in good repair.

Wear shoes, socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods, or when mosquitoes are most active. Clothing should be light colored and made of tightly woven materials that keep mosquitoes away from the skin.

Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in an unscreened structure and to protect small babies when outdoors.

Consider the use of mosquito repellent, according to directions, when it is necessary to be outdoors. Follow the instructions for application on the product.

Prevention tips should be followed until the first “hard frost.” According to the Connecticut Department of Public Health, a hard, or killing frost, is defined meteorologically as two consecutive hours of temperatures below 28 degrees Fahrenheit or three hours below 32 degrees.

For information on Jamestown Canyon virus and how to prevent mosquito bites, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at https://www.cdc.gov/jamestowncanyon/index.html.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov

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