State Advises Residents to Take Precautions Against Mosquitoes

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) is encouraging residents and visitors to take precautions against mosquito bites this season to prevent West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).
Officials said the most likely time for mosquitoes to spread disease is June through September.
During the 2012 season, nine batches of mosquitoes tested positive for EEE and 41 batches tested positive for WNV. There were four veterinary cases of EEE (two horses and two emus) but none detected for WNV. There was also a human case of WNV but no EEE cases.
During 2011, nine batches of mosquitoes tested positive for WNV and no samples tested positive for EEE. In 2010, one animal and one person tested positive for WNV and one animal tested positive for EEE.
“These numbers illustrate the unpredictability of these viruses,” said Dr. José Montero, state Director of Public Health. “The weather plays a role, as do environmental factors, so we just don’t know from year to year what will happen.”
He urged people to take steps to prevent the disease, most importantly by using an insect repellent.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus are transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird.
EEE carries a high mortality rate for those who contract the serious encephalitis form of the illness. Symptoms may include high fever, severe headache, and a sore throat. A stiff neck is also a symptom of the severe form of the disease, which can lead to seizures and coma. Symptoms usually occur four to 10 days after someone is bitten.
For individuals bitten by a mosquito carrying West Nile Virus, the risk of contracting the infection is low and, in the overwhelming majority of cases, there are no symptoms or just mild, flu-like symptoms. At times, West Nile Virus can cause meningitis and be a serious threat to seniors, young children, and those with compromised immune systems. If illness does occur, it typically happens within three to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
Precautionary steps everyone should take to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes include:
• Using an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 against mosquitoes.
• Wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors when mosquitoes are biting.
• Removing standing water around your home where mosquitoes can breed, such as in tires, flower pots, or pool covers.
• Making sure screens on windows and doors fit tightly and do not have holes
• Monitoring yourself if you are bitten by mosquitoes and tell your healthcare provider if you develop any symptoms of WNV or EEE.
For more information about WNV, EEE, or Lyme disease, visit: www.dhhs.nh.gov, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov, or call the state Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at 1-800-852-3345, ext. 4496.

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