Funding being cut from state's mosquito testing budget - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Funding being cut from state's mosquito testing budget

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Funding is being cut from the state's mosquito testing budget (WFSB) Funding is being cut from the state's mosquito testing budget (WFSB)

The Zika virus, West Nile virus, Yellow Fever are just a few viruses that can be transmitted through mosquitoes.

There are about 50 different types of mosquitoes in Connecticut, and scientists can tell the difference by looking through microscopes.

Eyewitness News recently sat down with Dr. Theodore Andreadis, Director of The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, who said there isn’t cause for concern in Connecticut regarding coming in contact with a mosquito carrying the Zika virus.

“It's really a tropic mosquito,” Andreadis said.

He said during the summer, the virus could potentially spread to the southern part of the United States.

“It doesn't tolerate cold temperatures and that doesn't include Connecticut at all,” Andreadis said.

Another mosquito, the Asian Tiger mosquito can carry the Zika virus, and that mosquito is found in Connecticut, along the coast of Fairfield and New Haven counties.

“There is no indication that this mosquito has picked up the virus but it is proven vector and is susceptible of the virus and is capable of transmitting it,” Andreadis said.

He thinks the mosquitoes Connecticut needs to be on alert for are the ones carrying West Nile virus.

“Our surveillance program is very good, at least for West Nile Virus, because we can find the locations where infected mosquitos are coming from and we can detect them early enough in season.

Connecticut is facing a budget deficit. Cuts have been made across the board including to this agency, and about $50,000 has been cut from their mosquito budget.

“This will have some impact on the program, we were hoping to receive funds form the Center for Disease Control but that hasn't been forthcoming,” Andreadis said,

The center hopes to get some money to offset the money that was cut.

The agency traps mosquitoes in over 90 locations throughout the state. The mosquitoes are tested in labs, and the program starts next month.

Seasonal staff, mostly college students, are hired to work for six months.

“We wanted to do additional work to be able to monitor these, Asian Tiger mosquitoes more closely and put out additional traps, some of the traps are expensive,” Andreadis said.

Right now, it is a waiting game for extra funds. In the meantime, experts said to be sure to protect yourself from getting bit.

“We don't know what is going to happen, that's why we doing what we do and conduct the research,” Andreadis said.

To avoid mosquito bites, you should use insect repellent and make sure to use window screens if you leave windows inside the home open.

Also, experts say to dump standing bodies of water around the home out, like bird baths, and clean out gutters.

If you are or plan to get pregnant, experts say don’t travel to Caribbean locations.

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