NH Health Department Encourages New Hampshire Residents to Take Precautions against Mosquito Borne Diseases

Concord, NH - The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS) Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) is encouraging residents

and visitors to the State to take precautions against mosquito bites this

season to prevent West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis

(EEE). Mosquitoes are already out and the most likely time for them to

spread disease is June through September.

During 2011, nine batches of mosquitoes tested positive for WNV and no

samples tested positive for EEE. In 2010, one animal and one person tested

positive for WNV and one animal tested positive for EEE.

“New Hampshire has been dealing with WNV since 2002 and with EEE since

2004,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS, “and while

the number of positive results has been decreasing of late, there is still

a risk. It is therefore important that we remind residents that these

diseases are preventable. It is essential that people follow precautionary

steps, most importantly using an insect repellent, to avoid becoming

infected by one of these diseases.”

Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus are transmitted through the

bite of an infected mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an

infected bird. 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 sore throat. A stiff

neck is also a symptom of the severe form of the disease, which can lead to

seizures and coma. Symptoms usually occur 4 to 10 days after someone is


For individuals who are bitten by a mosquito carrying West Nile Virus, the

risk of contracting the infection is low and, in the overwhelming majority

of cases, there are no symptoms or just mild, flu-like symptoms. At times,

West Nile Virus can cause meningitis and can be a serious threat to

seniors, young children, and those with compromised immune systems. If

illness does occur, it typically happens within 3 to 15 days after being

bitten by an infected mosquito.

Precautionary steps everyone should take to prevent being bitten by

mosquitoes include:

Using an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon

eucalyptus, or IR3535 against mosquitoes

Wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors when mosquitoes

are biting

Make sure to remove standing water around your home where mosquitoes

can breed, such as in tires, flower pots, or pool covers

Make sure screens on windows and doors fit tightly and do not have


Monitor yourself if you are bitten by mosquitoes and tell your

healthcare provider if you develop any symptoms of WNV or EEE

For more information about WNV, EEE, or Lyme disease, visit the DHHS

website at www.dhhs.nh.gov  the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

website at www.cdc.gov , or call the DHHS Communicable Disease Control

Section at 1-800-852-3345 x4496.