The following information has been supplied by the Connecticut Department of Public Health

& The American Red Cross


What is West Nile fever?
West Nile fever is a mosquito-borne viral infection that can cause inflammation of the brain.  It is named
after the West Nile district of Uganda where the virus was first isolated in 1937.
Has West Nile virus been found in Connecticut?
In 1999, West Nile virus was found in two species of mosquitoes trapped in Greenwich and in the brain
tissue of many crows in coastal Connecticut from Greenwich to Madison.
Have there been any human cases of West Nile fever in Connecticut?
The CT Department of Public Health (DPH) has asked physicians to report suspect cases of West Nile
fever admitted to the hospital to the DPH so that testing for West Nile virus can be done.  In 1999, 78
 persons were tested in CT. None were positive.
What are the symptoms of West Nile Fever?
Most people who are infected have no symptoms or may experience mild illness such as a fever and
headache before fully recovering.  In some individuals, particularly the elderly, West Nile can cause serious
disease that affects the central nervous system.  Symptoms generally occur 5-15 days following the bite of
an infected mosquito, and range from a slight fever, headache, rash, swollen nodes and conjunctivitis (irritation of the lining of the eye) to the rapid onset of severe headache, high fever, stiff neck, disorientation, muscle weakness, coma, or death.
How can I protect my family and myself?
  • By reducing the amount of standing water available for mosquito breeding around your home.
  • Limit the number of places available for mosquitoes to lay their eggs by eliminating standing
    water sources from around your home. (clogged roof gutters, plastic wading pools, wheelbarrows,
    bird baths)
  • Apply insect repellent containing DEET (with less than 10% deet) when you're outdoors.
  • Wear long-sleeved clothes and long pants treated with repellent and stay indoors during peak
     mosquito feeding hours (dusk until dawn) to further reduce your risk.
  • Keep swimming pools clean and chlorinated
  • Avoid applying repellent to children less than 2 years old.  Use care in applying repellent to
    small children, and don't put repellent on their hands because it may get into their mouth or eyes
    and cause irritation.
What should I do if I find a dead bird?
Call the Milford Health Department, 783-3285, to report the sighting.  They will advise you on what to do.
What is the Red Cross doing to ensure that the blood supply is as safe as possible?
We are vigilantly applying the standard donor screening procedures to ensure that people with any
symptoms of West Nile Virus infection are not allowed to donate.  In addition, The Red Cross is
collaborating with the FDA and the CDC in their current investigation of the issue and will continue
to work collaboratively with these organizations to help inform the public about the safety and efficacy
of the blood supply.  FDA is also continuing to work with CDC and NIH to study this issue and will
issue further guidance as needed.
What is being done with the blood already collected?
There are no validated tests currently available to screen blood already collected for the West Nile Virus.
However, donor screening processes have been in place for a long time to help protect the blood supply.
If I recently had a blood transfusion, should I be concerned about getting West Nile Virus?
The risk of contracting the West Nile Virus through a blood transfusion is currently not precisely
determined, but is known to be extremely low.  By natural routes, signs of infection would probably
be expected in 2-14 days, but it is unknown what the incubation period would be if transmission
occurred through a transfusion.  If you have symptoms of West Nile Virus or other concerns, you
should contact your physician. 


For more information about the West Nile Virus

Please call

The Milford Health Department

(203) 783-3285

or your physician


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