Press Releases


Entries in Public Health (65)


NH DHHS Identifies First Positive Test Results of the Year for Eastern Equine Encephalitis

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

(DHHS) is announcing that one batch of mosquitoes from Londonderry tested

positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus (EEE). This is the first

finding of EEE in the State this year. There have not been any positives

identified for West Nile Virus so far this season in New Hampshire. In

2013, there were 27 positives for EEE, including 24 mosquito batches and 3


EEE and WNV are transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitos. This finding

does not change the current low arboviral risk level for Londonderry. It is

important that people continue to take precautions against mosquito bites

including wearing an effective repellent, long pants and sleeves, ensuring

screens are in good repair and removing standing water from your property

to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.

“This is approximately the same time we identified the first positive for

Eastern Equine Encephalitis as last year,” said Public Health Director Dr.

José Montero. “Since we know that the agents that cause these diseases are

here in New England, everyone should make it part of their routine to take

precautions every time they go outside.”

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. EEE is a more 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, stiff neck, and sore throat. There is no treatment for the

disease, which can lead to seizures and coma. Symptoms usually occur 4 to

10 days after being bitten.

For more information about EEE and West Nile Virus visit the DHHS website

at and the Centers for

Disease Control and Prevention website at . For questions

contact the DHHS Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at 603-271-4496.

# # #

Prevention Guidelines for West Nile Virus and

Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus

NH Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health


1. Eliminate standing water and other mosquito breeding locations.

In warm weather, mosquitoes can breed in any puddle that lasts more than 4


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


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


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 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


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 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

Virus, call the NH Department of Health and Human Services toll-free West

Nile Virus Information Line at

866–273–NILE (6543), or visit the West Nile Virus Website at


NH DHHS - Salmonella Infections in NH Linked to National Outbreak

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

(DHHS), Division of Public Health Services alerts residents to the risks of

Salmonella Enteritidis infection associated with exposure to chicks and

other live poultry. As of August 6, 2014, at least 11 individuals in the

State have been infected with Salmonella shortly after exposure to chicks

or chickens. The majority of cases were raising chicks inside their home or

backyard for meat or eggs. The patients became ill between March 29 and

July 4, with the majority of cases occurring in late April and early May.

Patients range in age from 0 to 69, two were hospitalized, and all have

fully recovered.

All cases reported purchasing baby chicks from different local farm supply

stores that are all supplied by Mt. Healthy Hatcheries in Ohio. This

hatchery has been implicated in an ongoing multistate outbreak of

Salmonella as well as outbreaks in 2011 and 2012. For more information on

the multistate outbreak investigation go to

“While this cluster of cases linked to a problem at a particular hatchery

is concerning,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS,

“unfortunately Salmonella is always a risk with poultry. That is why we

want to emphasize that people follow appropriate and consistent hygiene

recommendations every time they come in contact with live poultry, whether

or not it is chicks or adults, chickens or other types of poultry.”

Poultry frequently carry bacteria, including Salmonella, which can cause

illness in humans. Chickens and other poultry infected with Salmonella

usually do not appear sick. Typical symptoms of Salmonella infection are

nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. These symptoms generally

develop within one to three days of exposure and may last for up to a week.

While anyone can become ill from exposure to these germs, the risk of

infection is especially high for children, the elderly, and persons with

weakened immune systems. These groups of people are also at risk for more

severe infections.

Salmonella lives in the intestines of infected chickens and can be shed in

the droppings. Baby chicks may be especially prone to shed these germs and

cause human illness due to the stress of shipping and adapting to many new

locations before they reach a permanent home. Once shed, bacteria can

spread across the chicken’s body as the bird cleans itself and throughout

the environment as the chicken walks around. Therefore, it is especially

important to carefully wash your hands with soap and water after handling

poultry or anything that has come into contact with them. If you ingest

Salmonella, you may become ill. People accidentally ingest Salmonella in

many ways, including eating after handling chickens or by touching their

hand to their mouth while working with the birds without washing their

hands thoroughly first. If handled properly, poultry should not pose a

Salmonella risk to people.

For more information on this national outbreak, visit


NH DHHS - NH Launches Training to Improve Response to Individuals in Distress

First Group of 30 Receive Certification as Mental Health

First Aid Instructors

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

(DHHS), Bureau of Behavioral Health (BBH) has launched a training that will

provide valuable skills to potential first responders and community members

in how to help individuals experiencing mental illness or addiction

disorders. The Training, called Mental Health First Aid, is funded through

DHHS’ Balancing Incentive Program (BIP) and is a collaborative effort

between DHHS and the NH Community Behavioral Health Association.

“There is no issue that crosses sectors and boundaries in the way that

Mental Illness does,” said DHHS Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas. “This

Training program will help develop new skills at the local level. We view

this as an integral part of a revitalized continuum of care in our service

delivery systems addressing the needs of individuals facing mental health


Thirty people from across the State were certified as mental health first

aid instructors. These instructors will be required to share their

knowledge and skills within their community, and must provide 3 trainings

within a year to remain certified.

“The Goal is to get these skills out in the community where they are most

needed,” said Nanci Collica, one of the first certified Mental Health First

Aid Trainers in New Hampshire. “My own son has had many experiences where

we could have used someone who knew better what to do. The fact that these

skills can be applied anytime, anywhere, by anyone is what makes them so


The training offers evidence based instruction on identifying symptoms of

mental illness and substance disorders, de-escalating crisis and connecting

individuals to resources in their community. “It’s fun, simple, yet

provides great tools for handling a situation where someone is in crisis”

says Collica.

The Balancing Incentive Program is an award through the Centers of Medicaid

and Medicare Services. The purpose of this program is to increase access to

and use of long-term care services and supports in community settings. In

partnership with community organizations throughout the state, these

services and supports will allow more people to remain in their homes and

communities rather than in nursing homes.


NH DHHS Identifies First Cases of Chikungunya in the Granite State

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

(DHHS) is announcing two cases of chikungunya in people who traveled to the

Caribbean. These are the first identified cases in New Hampshire of the

virus, which is spread by mosquitoes and found in many countries, though

most recently in the Caribbean and Central and South America. Currently

there is no concern of local transmission of this virus in New Hampshire

because the types of mosquitoes that carry the virus have not been

identified in this area.

The chikungunya virus was first identified in Tanzania in 1952. It spread

by mosquitoes to the Americas where it was first identified on the island

of St. Martin in 2013. The most common symptoms of chikungunya infection

are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain,

joint swelling, and rash. Outbreaks have occurred in countries in Africa,

Asia, Europe, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans. There is no vaccine

against chikungunya and no specific treatment at this time. Chikungunya

rarely results in death but the symptoms can sometimes be severe and

debilitating. The incubation period is generally 2–7 days but can be as

long as two weeks.

“While this is our first announcement of this virus,” said DHHS Public

Health Director Dr. José Montero, “unfortunately it probably won’t be the

last. This disease and the mosquitoes that carry it are spreading. We want

to urge people who are traveling to areas where this virus now exists to

take the same precautions when outdoors that they would here to prevent

being bitten by mosquitoes, namely wear an effective insect repellent, long

sleeves, and pants. In some countries a bed net might be advisable if

screens are not available.”

People who have symptoms of chikunguyna and have recently traveled to a

country where chikungunya is spread by mosquitoes should contact their

healthcare provider. For more information about chikungunya, visit the

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at  or

the DHHS website at


NH DHHS - Food Safety Tips for the Summer Season

Concord, NH – During this busy summer season of trips to the beach,

vacations, and cookouts, the Department of Health and Human

Services’ (DHHS) Food Protection Section wants to remind everyone to follow

some important food safety practices to avoid foodborne illnesses, such as

Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli, and Campylobacter.

There are an estimated 48 million cases of foodborne disease, 128,000

hospitalizations, and 3,000 deaths each year in the United States.

“Food is an important part of vacation and holiday gatherings but it needs

to be handled safely, especially during the warmer weather,” said Dr. José

Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “The basic rule is keep hot

foods hot and cold foods cold. It may be common sense, but it should never

be overlooked. Just like hand washing, the more we practice it the more

routine it becomes and the safer we all will be.”

A DHHS video on summer grilling food safety is available on YouTube at There are some simple

precautions everyone should always take to reduce the possibility of

becoming sick when preparing food, which include:

Separate: Use a separate cutting board for cooked foods and raw foods

(especially meat) and always wash them after use. Avoid cross

contamination. Wash any utensil after preparing one food item before

going on to the next item.

Clean: Always wash hands before touching any food. Wash hands and

surfaces often during food preparation and afterward.

Cook: Pork, lamb, veal, and whole cuts of beef should be cooked to 145

°F as measured by a food thermometer placed in the thickest part of

the meat, followed by a three-minute rest time before carving or

consuming. Hamburgers and other ground beef should reach 160 °F. All

poultry should reach a minimum temperature of 165 °F. Fish should be

cooked to 145 °F. Fully cooked meats like hot dogs should be grilled

to 165 °F or until steaming hot.

Chill: Refrigerate or freeze leftovers within two hours. One hour if it

is a hot day over

90ºF. The refrigerator should be maintained at 40ºF or lower and the

freezer should be at 0ºF or lower. Keep hot foods hot, 140ºF or

hotter, and cold foods cold, 40ºF or below. Never defrost food at

room temperature. Thaw food in the refrigerator, in a cold-water

bath, or in the microwave. When using a microwave, meat must be

cooked immediately after. Marinate foods in the refrigerator.

Report: Report suspected foodborne illnesses to the NH Department of

Health and Human Services by calling 603-271-4496. Often calls from

concerned citizens are how outbreaks are first detected. If a public

health official calls you to talk about an outbreak, your cooperation

is important, even if you are not ill.

For more information visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture at  or

, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at , the

DHHS website at , or .