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3 Fairfield County residents contract West Nile virus

September 9, 2020 GMT

GREENWICH, Conn. (AP) — Three Fairfield County residents have tested positive for the West Nile virus, bringing Connecticut’s total of human cases this season to four, the state Department of Public Health announced Wednesday.

A Greenwich resident between 70 and 79 years old became ill at the end of August and was hospitalized with West Nile encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain that can sometimes be fatal. The person is recovering, health officials said.

Two people between 20 and 39 years old from Danbury and Newtown tested positive in the second week of August and are recovering, according to the Public Health Department. One of them was diagnosed with West Nile encephalitis, and the other experienced headache and fever.

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The first person in the state to contract the mosquito-borne virus this year was a Waterbury resident in their 40s who became ill in July and recovered, health officials said.

“Late summer-early fall is the critical time of year when West Nile virus reaches its peak in the mosquito population,” Dr. Philip Armstrong, medical entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, said in a statement.

The risk of West Nile virus doesn’t end until the first hard frost. Health officials recommend using insect repellent, covering bare skin and avoiding being outdoors at dusk and dawn to prevent becoming infected.