New Britain, CT (PRWEB) July 24, 2014
Dr. Alicia Bray, assistant professor of biology at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), is conducting two studies to determine the prevalence of certain disease-carrying mosquito species in Connecticut. Connecticut is particularly vulnerable to the introduction of disease-carrying mosquitoes due to its proximity to and concentration of cities, ports, and centers of international travel. However, it is unclear which types of mosquitoes are currently in Connecticut and how common they are.
Is that mosquito on your arm just a pest, or a Culex pipiens mosquito that could be carrying West Nile Virus? Dr. Bray’s studies will help determine just how widespread disease-carrying mosquitoes are in Connecticut. Bray believes that manmade retention & detention ponds left over from construction may be helping spread disease-carrying mosquitoes by making extra breeding grounds.
The studies will take place over the course of the summer and fall, and will help to improve efforts to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses.
The first study focuses on the occurrence of mosquitoes that can carry EEEV (Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus). Mosquitoes carrying EEEV have become increasingly common in Connecticut in recent years. Although EEEV rarely passes onto humans, when it does it is alarmingly destructive: the CDC estimates a 33% mortality rate, with most survivors suffering from significant brain damage. The virus was also recently detected in Massachusetts.
A second study in the fall will focus on mosquito species that can carry West Nile Virus. Mosquito species that carry West Nile prefer to bite birds, but become more likely to bite humans during the fall as birds start to migrate.
Mosquitoes will be captured from existing manmade mosquito breeding grounds. “Each human invented area has its own characteristics. If we know which ones are making the most mosquitoes we can better target our protection efforts,” said Bray. Better targeting allows for greater disease prevention while decreasing the amount of pesticide used.