annual Balloon Festival begins in Plainville

PLAINVILLVE, CT (WFSB) “It’s the last weekend of the summer before the kids go back to school. I think balloons fascinate people. We are fascinated by them so it’s kind of been our thing for 32 years,” said Lenois.Although the event has been a success in years past, organizers are making some changes this year.”We’ve done a few things differently. We are not allowing any onsite parking except for staff and handicapped. All off site parking and busing people in this year,” said Lenois.Pandora Sale Lenois said the change is in an effort to minimize congestion and force traffic through other locations.The majority of money raised will go back towards the community.”We give away scholarships, and the only money we make is at the food tent. It’s something that’s important to us. Come down and have a burger to help the town,” said Lenois.More information is available on the festival’s website.Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>Mailman caught on camera pepper spraying small dogs through gateMailman caught on camera pepper spraying small dogs through gateUpdated: Tuesday, October 11 2016 10:44 AM EDT2016 10 11 14:44:20 GMTThe mailman and mailbox was on one side of a locked gate. The dogs, Bella, Romeo and Lexi, were on the other side, with no chance of getting out.The mailman and mailbox was on one side of a locked gate. The dogs, Bella, Romeo and Lexi, were on the other side, with no chance of getting out.Woman refused service over ‘police lives matter’ shirtWoman refused service over ‘police lives matter’ shirtUpdated: Tuesday, October 11 2016 8:47 AM EDT2016 10 11 12:47:53 GMT

31 Zika Virus cases reported in Northern Virginia

There are 31 active cases of Zika virus in Northern Virginia, the Virginia Department of Health confirmed last week and double that number a total of at least 62 cases, throughout the state.

The Virginia Department of Health updates their numbers of cases every Thursday, so it is possible those numbers have already increased.

Zika, which has been linked to birth defects, is transmitted by infected mosquitoes biting someone. There are also cases of sexual transmission, both from men to women and from women to men. The full potential effects of the virus are as yet unknown and there is no vaccine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in addition to birth defects and other pregnancy problems, several countries that have experienced Zika outbreaks recently have reported increases in people who have Guillain Barr syndrome (GBS), an uncommon sickness of the nervous system in which a person’s own immune system damages the nerve cells, causing muscle weakness, and sometimes, paralysis.

According to the Virginia Department of Health, all of the cases in Virginia so far were contracted while traveling to areas where mosquitoes are known to be transmitting Zika. They say there has yet to be local transmission in Virginia, where someone becomes infected with Zika from being bitten by a mosquito within the commonwealth, but potentially all that would need to occur to make that happen would be a mosquito biting an infected person and then becoming infected with the virus itself before transmitting the virus by biting someone else.

“The health department’s goal is to stop local transmission,” said Communicable Disease Epidemiology Supervisor Shawn Kiernan at a Zika town hall meeting at the West Springfield Government Center last week. “Part of that is education.”

Throughout the summer, the Fairfax County Health Department has worked to educate residents on how to prevent Zika in Fairfax County.

The health department recommends taking prevention methods like wearing long sleeved clothing, using bug spray that contains DEET, removing standing water from yards and using insecticides specifically intended for mosquitos.

Kiernan estimated that Zika could be a threat in the area until October, when the temperature and humidity drop to a level where mosquitoes aren’t likely to survive.

In order to continue educating the public on Zika, Kiernan recommended getting tested if symptoms like fever, rash, joint pain or red eyes follow exposure to mosquitoes.

Environmental Health Supervisor Josh Smith, of the Fairfax Health Department’s Disease Carrying Insects Program, recommends visiting the CDC, the Virginia Department of Health and the Fairfax County Health Department websites to get more information about where Zika is and details about prevention methods. The slides the Health Department has been showing at town hall events like the one last week are also available on those websites.

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