Two Granite Staters test positive for Caribbean mosquito virus
Aedes aegypti is one of two tropical mosquito species linked to the spread of chikungunya. (MUHAMMAD MAHDI KARIM)
“Currently being in New Hampshire, yes, you’d be more likely to get West Nile or EEE” than chikungunya, said Beth Daly, chief of infectious disease surveillance for the state Department of Health and Human Services.
Daly wouldn’t disclose the genders or the hometowns of the chikungunya victims, citing privacy concerns. They live in “different parts of the state,” she said.
“The Dominican Republic is having a very large outbreak. They’re probably the most affected,” Daly said. “Haiti is having quite a few cases reported.”
“If (travelers are) coming back from their trip and they have a fever or muscle or joint pain, they should be suspicious of this infection because they’re having a widespread outbreak in the Caribbean,” Daly said.
“It’s really avoiding mosquito bites,” Daly said. “It means using repellent, covering your arms and legs when possible, staying in the hotel or wherever you’re staying that they have screens (or nets around beds).”
Deaths from chikungunya are rare. By comparison, Daly said, the death rate for victims of Eastern equine encephalitis is about 30 percent. It’s less than 1 percent for those infected with West Nile virus. Both are diseases carried by mosquitoes who live in New Hampshire.
Tim Soucy, Manchester Health Department director, said he expects to get the first test results next week on whether any mosquitoes trapped locally are carrying EEE or West Nile.
“It’s not going to be found locally,” he said. “If you’re fortunate enough to be traveling to the Caribbean, using bug spray, long sleeves and being careful at dusk or dawn,” will go a long way toward prevention.
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