Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in coordination with the Manchester Health Department are announcing the first human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) this season in an adult from the city of Manchester. The NH Public Health Lab confirmed the positive WNV case. The most recent human case of WNV in New Hampshire was confirmed in September 2010. WNV was first identified in NH in August of 2000. This case brings the number of human infections reported in NH to 5.
“Fortunately this individual has recovered from this infection,” said NH Public Health Director Dr. José Montero. “However, there have been 41 deaths associated with West Nile Virus this year in other parts of the country. This is yet another reminder to us all that the illness is here in New Hampshire, and we should all be taking steps to prevent mosquito bites on ourselves and our loved ones.”
This year WNV has been detected in 29 mosquito batches collected in Manchester, to date and the city will be starting spraying on Thursday. Mosquito batches have also tested positive this year in Nashua, Salem, Seabrook, North Hampton and Brentwood bringing the total of positive batches in the State this year to 36.
West Nile Virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. The risk to humans is low and in the majority of cases there are no symptoms, or just mild, flu-like symptoms. If illness does occur, symptoms often appear 4 to 10 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. People over the age of 50 are considered to be at higher risk of becoming ill, the symptoms of which can include severe headache, high fever, stiff neck, confusion, loss of consciousness, and muscle weakness.
You can protect yourself and your family with a few simple steps, such as using effective mosquito repellant, wearing long sleeves and pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active, removing standing water from around your house so mosquitoes do not have a place to breed, and by checking doors and windows to ensure screens are in place and in good condition to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.
Prevention Guidelines for West Nile Virus and
Eastern Equine Encephalitis
NH Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health Services
1. Eliminate standing water and other mosquito breeding locations.
In warm weather, mosquitoes can breed in any puddle that lasts more than 4 days!
- Remove old tires from your property.
- Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, or other containers. Don’t overlook containers that have become overgrown by aquatic vegetation.
- Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers that are left outside.
- Make sure roof gutters are clean and draining properly.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools and hot tubs. If not in use, keep empty and covered and keep covers free of standing water.
- Aerate garden ponds or stock them with fish.
- Turn over wheelbarrows and change water in birdbaths at least twice weekly.
- Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use.
- Remind or help neighbors to eliminate breeding sites on their properties.
2. Be aware of where mosquitoes live and breed and keep them from entering your home.
- Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Weeds, tall grass, and bushes provide an outdoor home for adult mosquitoes, including several species commonly associated with West Nile virus and eastern equine encephalitis.
- Mosquitoes can enter homes through unscreened windows or doors, or broken screens. Make sure that doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace all screens in your home that have tears or holes.
- Resting mosquitoes can often be flushed from indoor resting sites by using sweeping motions under beds, behind bedside tables etc. and once in flight, exterminated prior to sleeping at night.
3. Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
- If outside during evening, nighttime, and dawn hours when mosquitoes are most active and likely to bite, children and adults should wear protective clothing such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and socks.
- Consider the use of an effective insect repellent, such as one containing DEET. A repellent containing 30% or less DEET (N,N-diethyl-methyl-meta-toluamide) for children and adults. Use DEET according to the manufacturer's directions. Children should not apply DEET to themselves. Repellents that contain Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus have also been determined to be effective.
- Vitamin B, ultrasonic devices, incense, and bug zappers have not been shown to be effective in preventing mosquito bites.
For more information on West Nile Virus or Eastern Equine Encephalitis, call the NH Department of Health and Human Services toll-free West Nile Virus Information Line at (866) 273–NILE (6543), or visit the West Nile Virus Website at http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/arboviral/index.htm.