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NH DHHS Identifies First Mosquito Batches in 2019 to Test Positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis
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Issued By Division of Public Health Services
Publish Date:
August 13, 2019

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has identified the first batches of mosquitoes to test positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) this season. The batches were found recently in the town of Pelham and DHHS is working in partnership with the health officers in Pelham and surrounding towns to notify residents.

“Identification of the EEE virus in mosquitoes in New Hampshire is an important reminder that mosquito bites can transmit a number of potentially serious viral infections in our communities,” said NH State Epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan. “People need to take steps to prevent mosquito bites, including avoiding being outdoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active, wearing protective clothing, using an effective mosquito repellant on exposed skin, and removing standing water from around the home where mosquitoes reproduce.”

EEE is one of three mosquito-transmitted diseases present in New Hampshire, including West Nile Virus (WNV) and Jamestown Canyon virus, and was first identified in the State in August of 2004. Since 2004, there have been 15 human infections with EEE identified in NH; the last human case of EEE in NH was in 2014, when there were three cases. There have been no EEE infections identified yet this season in humans or animals.

Symptoms of EEE virus usually appear 4 to 10 days after being bitten by a mosquito carrying the EEE virus. People who get sick from EEE can develop a flu-like illness, including fever, headache, weakness, and muscle and joint pains. A more serious central nervous system infection can develop such as meningitis and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). EEE typically causes a more serious disease than WNV and carries a high mortality rate for those who contract the serious encephalitic form of the illness. There is no specific treatment for the disease.

Prevention guidelines for EEE and other arboviruses can be found below. Anyone with questions about arboviruses, including EEE, can call the New Hampshire Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at 603-271-4496. Fact Sheets on Easter Equine Encephalitis Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol and other arboviruses are available on this website. For more information, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov.

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Prevention Guidelines for West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis

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 the adult Culex pipiens mosquito (the common northern house mosquito), which is most commonly associated with West Nile virus.
  • 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. Repellent containing 30% or less DEET (N,N-diethyl-methyl-meta-toluamide) are recommended for use by 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, visit the Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus web page.

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New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
129 Pleasant Street | Concord, NH | 03301-3852


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