September 10, 2013
Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is announcing the first human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) this season in an adult from Chesterfield. The most recent human case of WNV in New Hampshire was confirmed in August of 2012. WNV was first identified in New Hampshire in August of 2000. This case brings the number of human WNV infections reported in New Hampshire to 6.
“Fortunately this individual has recovered from this infection,” said NH Public Health Director Dr. José Montero, “but there is still a risk to New Hampshire residents. There is no way to know where exactly this individual was infected, so it is important that everyone remember the illness is present across the State and we should all be taking steps to prevent mosquito bites to ourselves and our loved ones.”
This year so far, WNV has been detected in 9 mosquito batches in the following communities: Kensington, Nashua, New Castle, Pelham, Sandown, and Stratham. The total number of batches that have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) so far this year is 12.
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 from WNV and EEE 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.
For more information about WNV or EEE visit www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/arboviral/index.htm or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website: www.cdc.gov/westnile/index.html or if you have specific questions or concerns call the Division of Public Health Services WNV/EEE information line at 1-866-273-6453.