Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) today is using a State law to provide additional assistance to communities to help prevent eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) by declaring a public health threat. The towns that have been offered the additional assistance are Atkinson, Auburn, Bedford, Candia, Chester, Deerfield, Derry, Goffstown, Hampstead, Hooksett, Londonderry, Manchester, Raymond, Salem, Sandown, and Windham. This action comes as a result of additional mosquito pools that tested positive for EEE in Manchester and Derry yesterday.
The law allows for expedited permitting for mosquito control and allows the State to reimburse cities and towns for up to 25% of their costs associated with mosquito control and abatement if local communities have an approved mosquito control plan and the State determines that there is a threat to residents from mosquito-borne illnesses.
“This is a prudent course of action to take to help towns control their mosquito populations in the future if necessary and hopefully reduce the threat of infected mosquitoes in these towns,” said Dr. Jose Montero, Public Health Director at DHHS. “We want to try to make sure that local communities have the tools they need to combat EEE effectively. This does not take the place of the precautions people should be taking to prevent these illnesses.”
Residents are encouraged to follow these simple steps to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes, the source of EEE and WNV: use an effective insect repellent, avoid being outside when mosquitoes are biting when possible, wear long sleeves and pants, and eliminate standing water on your property where mosquitoes can breed.
So far this season the State Public Health Lab has tested 2,021 mosquito pools, 3 animals, and 63 humans across the State for EEE and West Nile virus (WNV). There have been 13 positive mosquito pools and 1 alpaca identified with EEE. There have been no positives for WNV this year.
For more, call the DHHS information line for EEE/West Nile virus questions at 1-866-273-6453 or visit the DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov.