Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) today announces the first positive test for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) this year. An alpaca in Rockingham County tested positive for the disease. This is the first indication of EEE in New Hampshire this year and there have been no positives for West Nile virus (WNV) identified yet this year. Last year one mosquito pool tested positive for WNV and one animal and eight mosquito pools tested positive for EEE in the State.
“This is not unexpected,” said Nicholas Toumpas, DHHS Commissioner, “but still unfortunate. Nice weather has finally arrived and with it an increase in mosquito activity. We must remember, however, that EEE and WNV are preventable. The best way to protect your family and yourself is to take simple prevention steps. We urge everybody to use effective insect repellent and try to wear long sleeves and pants while outside at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active, and eliminate places for water to collect on your property, such as pool covers, that allow mosquitoes to breed.”
DHHS has a toll-free hotline for EEE/West Nile virus at 1-866-273-6453 for information about these diseases. So far this year as of August 11, the State Public Health Lab has tested 909 mosquito pools, 2 animals, and 49 human specimens from across the State for EEE and West Nile virus, but this is the first positive. DHHS is working with medical providers and local health officials to ensure the public’s health through surveillance for these diseases and proactive prevention and control strategies. Considerable resources about EEE and West Nile virus are available on the DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov.
“We will continue surveillance efforts for these diseases throughout the season,” said Dr. Jose Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “We should continue to take precautionary measures. There is a risk, especially in the southern part of the State, until frost kills the mosquitoes, so wehave a ways to go.”
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 around your property. Please do not attempt to drain or alter natural waterbodies for mosquito control, since the management of ponds and wetlands is regulated by the Department of Environmental Services and any planned alterations will require a permit before work may begin. 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, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 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 DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov.