September 12, 2013
Concord, NH - The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) today announces a positive test result for eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) in a horse from Derry as well as a mosquito batch in Sandown and a mosquito batch positive for West Nile virus in Hampstead. These findings necessitate the elevation of the risk level in Derry to “High.” Towns surrounding Derry will be raised to a “Moderate” risk level.
“These results highlight the fact that these illnesses affect not just mosquitoes, but animals and of course people too,” said Dr. José Montero, Public Health Director at DHHS. “It is also an indication that mosquitoes do not respect borders, and as a result can infect animals and people in any corner of our State. This follows closely our identification of a person with West Nile virus in Chesterfield so I want to reiterate the importance of protecting against mosquito bites no matter where you live until there is a killing frost statewide.”
So far this season New Hampshire’s Public Health Lab has tested 4,263 batches of mosquitoes. Of those, 10 have tested positive for WNV and 13 tested positive for EEE. One person was also diagnosed with WNV. The test results being announced today are the first animal found positive for EEE this season and there have been no positive tests for animals with WNV.
EEE is a serious disease that carries a high mortality rate for those who contract the serious encephalitis form of the illness. Symptoms may include high fever, severe headache, and stiff neck. There is no treatment for the disease, which can lead to seizures and coma. Symptoms usually occur 4 to 10 days after being bitten. Symptoms of WNV 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.
Questions about EEE and WNV can be answered by calling the toll free EEE/West Nile Virus information line at 1-866-273-6453. You can also find extensive information about both diseases on our website www.dhhs.nh.gov.