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Entries in Public Health (74)


NH DHHS Announces Second Human Case of EEE This Season

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

(DHHS) is announcing the second human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis

(EEE) this season in an adult from Hopkinton. The first human case of EEE

in New Hampshire this season was confirmed on August 22nd in Conway, NH.

Other EEE positive tests this year include 6 mosquito batches and a mule;

there have been no positive test results so far for West Nile Virus (WNV).

Due to this human case, the risk level for human illness in Hopkinton will

be raised to high, and the surrounding towns to moderate risk. Other areas

of the State currently considered at high risk are the Conway and Candia


“Mosquito seasons are unpredictable,” said DHHS Public Health Director Dr.

José Montero. “West Nile Virus was very common the last couple of years but

EEE was not as prevalent. This acts as a reminder that viruses change,

mosquitoes fly, and there are many factors involved, so since we do know

that both of these disease are present in mosquitoes in New Hampshire, it

is important that everyone remember to take steps to prevent mosquito bites

to themselves and their loved ones.”

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

3 animals. EEE and WNV are transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes.

Symptoms of EEE disease often appear 4 to 10 days after someone is bitten

by an infected mosquito. 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 than WNV and 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 specific treatment for the disease, which can lead

to seizures and coma.

You can protect yourself and your family from WNV and EEE with a few simple

steps, such as using effective mosquito repellant, wearing long sleeves and

pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active, removing standing

water from around your house so mosquitoes do not have a place to breed,

and by checking doors and windows to ensure screens are in place and in

good condition to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.

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 - New Hampshire Public Health Laboratories Receive Biomonitoring Grant from CDC

Concord, NH - New Hampshire is one of six states recently awarded a

Biomonitoring grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention (CDC). The award, which is funded for 5 years, provides $

815,909 in year one to establish and expand biomonitoring capacity in the

state public health laboratory, as part of an on-going effort by CDC.

Biomonitoring is the direct measurement of environmental chemicals in

people’s blood and urine, indicating the amount of chemical that actually

enters the body from all environmental sources.

The CDC State Biomonitoring Cooperative Agreement serves to increase the

capability and capacity of states to conduct biomonitoring and surveillance

to assess human exposure to environmental chemicals. Biomonitoring provides

human exposure data that can assist in making important public health

decisions. Better exposure information helps identify at-risk population

groups and assess the effectiveness of interventions.

“This is a great opportunity for the Public Health Laboratories to help

determine if New Hampshire residents are being exposed to selected

contaminants in the environment and work with partners toward plans for

alleviating these pathways in the future,” said Dr. Christine Bean,

Director of the New Hampshire Public Health Laboratories (NH PHL). “I am

proud of the work the laboratorians do here every day and that we were one

of only six states to receive this grant.”

NH PHL will use the funding to purchase laboratory equipment and supplies,

hire and train toxicologists and epidemiologists, and conduct both targeted

and surveillance investigations. Toxicologists will conduct the laboratory

analysis and epidemiologists will work to determine exposure risks of New

Hampshire residents. CDC program staff will provide technical support and

training for the state program.

The NH PHL will begin working on an arsenic and uranium project analyzing

urine and water samples from individuals reliant on private bedrock wells

for drinking water. Residents of selected high-risk communities, as

determined by local geology, will be invited to participate in this

important public health study. Arsenic speciation, which is used to

identify which form of arsenic is present, will be conducted on urine

specimens with elevated total arsenic.

In future years of the project, the PHL will initiate a state-wide

Surveillance Biomonitoring effort, testing blood and urine for chemicals of

concern in New Hampshire. The data from these analyses will be useful in

determining state-specific background levels of contaminants, identifying

emerging concerns, prioritizing resources, and evaluating public health

interventions. Biomonitoring data from New Hampshire will help inform the

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

in implementation of multiple priority areas in the New Hampshire State

Health Improvement Plan,


NH DHHS - “Suicide Prevention: IT (Information Technology) Makes A Difference!”

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

(DHHS), in collaboration with the State’s Suicide Prevention Council is

recognizing National Suicide Prevention Week from September 7-13, 2014.

This year’s theme: “Suicide Prevention: IT (Information Technology) Makes

a Difference” highlights various types of technological tools adapted for

use in the prevention of suicide. “Using technology to help in suicide

prevention efforts just makes sense” said NH Public Health Director Dr.

Jose Montero. “For example, current electronic medical records make the

screening for suicide risk factors more efficient; the tools are embedded

electronically. It makes it easier to identify risk factors so that

treatment can be offered sooner and progress can be assessed.”

“Technology can also help when someone is feeling at risk. There are now

several mobile apps that address safety planning,” said Interim Director of

DHHS’ Division of Community Based Care Services Diane Langley. “A safety

plan is essentially a list of coping strategies and sources of support for

people who are at high risk for suicide. It’s done in conjunction with a

mental health clinician and is generally thought of as an important part of

care. For someone going through a crisis, having immediate access to this

on a cell phone can be life-saving.”

Everyone can help in suicide prevention. Warning signs include:

· Talking about death or suicide

· Hopelessness

· Anger

· Increasing alcohol or drug use

· Isolation

· Mood changes

Recognize these signs and connect the person to help. If you or someone

you know is in crisis or emotional distress, you can call the Suicide

Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The line is available 24 hours a day/ 7

days a week.

To download the prevention apps go to:

For more information on suicide prevention, visit the Suicide Prevention

Resource Center at or the National Alliance for Mentally Ill

New Hampshire at   or DHHS at


NH DHHS - First Influenza Positive Test Result at State Lab

New Hampshire Residents Encouraged to Get a Seasonal Flu Vaccine

Concord, NH – The annual influenza (flu) season is about to begin and the

New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is announcing

the first positive influenza test result identified in the State Public

Health Laboratories (PHL). This finding means that the influenza virus is

circulating in the community and DHHS is encouraging all New Hampshire

residents to be vaccinated against the flu at their earliest convenience,

especially those who are at increased risk of complications.

“This positive lab result for influenza in a New Hampshire resident is

slightly earlier than usual,” said Dr. José Montero, “but this is the third

year in a row that we have had to make the announcement in September. Every

flu season is different and flu is very unpredictable, but I want to remind

everyone that an annual flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect

against influenza.”

Influenza can be a serious disease of the lungs, nose, and throat. The

illness is spread from person to person through the air by coughing and

sneezing. Typical flu symptoms include fever, headache, extreme tiredness,

dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and muscle aches. An average

of 23,000 people die each year in the United States due to influenza. Last

flu season in New Hampshire, 14 influenza-related deaths were reported. The

vaccine itself does not give you the flu and is very safe.

The flu season usually lasts from October through May, so the Centers for

Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and DHHS recommend that everyone who

is at least six months of age be vaccinated as soon as they can early in

the season. The vaccine is available in the traditional shot form for

people six months of age and older and in a nasal mist form for healthy

people aged 2–49 years who are not pregnant. Residents are encouraged to

check with schools, pharmacies, their healthcare provider, or wherever is

the most convenient location to be vaccinated.

“It is especially important that certain targeted groups be vaccinated for

their own safety; however, other groups, such as health care and child care

providers, should receive the vaccine to protect others. Here in New

Hampshire, 93% of hospital healthcare workers were vaccinated last year.”

While everyone should get a flu vaccine this season, it is especially

important for some people to get vaccinated for their own safety, including

the following groups:

· Children aged 6 months through 4 years of age

· Pregnant women

· Adults 65 years of age or older

· People who are immunosuppressed

· People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions, including

asthma, heart disease, diabetes, or chronic lung disease

People who live with or care for those at high risk of flu complications

should also be vaccinated including:

· Health care workers

· Household contacts of persons at high risk of complications from the


· Household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children younger

than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)

For more information on influenza and the vaccine, contact the NH

Immunization Program at 1-800-852-3345 x 4482 or 603-271-4482 or the Bureau

of Infectious Disease Control at 1-800-852-3345 x 0279 or 603-271-0279.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at  for more information or the DHHS website at .


NH DHHS - “Suicide Prevention: IT (Information Technology) Makes A Difference

Concord, NH – Suicide continues to be a very serious issue in New

Hampshire; it’s the second leading cause of death for youth and young

adults ages 15 – 34 and the fourth leading cause of death for people ages

35 – 54. Increasingly, technology of all kinds is being utilized in

prevention and screening for suicide risk. On Monday, September 8th the New

Hampshire Suicide Prevention Council will be highlighting the various types

of “IT” and how they are being used to aid in suicide prevention, including

electronic medical records, interactive training videos and cell phone


This is a unique opportunity to hear about how technology has changed the

efforts towards the prevention of suicide.

Speakers for this event include:

Dr. Daniel Potenza, Psychiatric Medical Director, New Hampshire Department

of Corrections and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Dartmouth

Medical School.

Dr. P. Travis Harker, Family Physician, Concord Hospital Family Health


Staff Sergeant Dana Osborne, State Resilience Coordinator, New Hampshire

National Guard

Jennifer Schirmer, Disaster Behavioral Health Coordinator, Emergency

Services Unit, New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

JoAn Morin, Hotline Coordinator, Headrest, Agency that answers

1-800-273-TALK in NH

DATE September 8, 2014

9:00 AM

EVENT Technology uses for Suicide Prevention

LOCATION Legislative Office Building


Concord, NH