Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is announcing that 2 batches of mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV) recently from the town of Pelham. These are the first mosquito batches found to be positive so far this year and the first positive test results of the season.
WNV is transmitted from the bite of an infected mosquito. WNV was first identified in New Hampshire in August of 2000. The Public Health Lab has tested 1,115 mosquito batches, 3 animals, and 14 people so far this season. Last year, 41 mosquito batches tested positive for WNV in New Hampshire and there were 9 positives for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). No animals tested positive for WNV last year but there were 4 EEE positive animal lab tests. Also, one person was determined to have been infected with WNV in 2012.
“While this is our first announcement of West Nile Virus positives in New Hampshire this season, we have been hearing of positive test results from some of our neighboring states already so this is no surprise,” said DHHS Public Health Director Dr. José Montero. “Unfortunately it also means the threat has not abated so people need to make sure they take precautions to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes as we head into the high season for these two illnesses.”
Residents and visitors to New Hampshire should protect themselves and their family members by using an effective mosquito repellant that contains 30% DEET, wearing long sleeves and pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active, and removing standing water from around your house so mosquitoes do not have a place to breed. Repellents with picaridin, IR3535 and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products also provide protection.
Symptoms of the disease often appear 4 to 10 days after being bitten. If you or someone you know is experiencing flu-like symptoms, including fever and headache, contact your local medical provider.
Anyone with questions about WNV/EEE can call 1-866-273-6453 between 8 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday. Other information about EEE and West Nile virus are available on the DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov and on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov.
1. NH Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health Services
- 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, para-menthane-diol 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 1-866–273–NILE (6543), or visit the West Nile Virus Website at www.dhhs.nh.gov.