LONDONDERRY — A mosquito in Londonderry has tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis, town officials confirmed late Friday afternoon.
The insect carrying the potentially dangerous virus was discovered in a batch of mosquitoes trapped in town earlier this month, according to Town Manager Kevin Smith.
Smith said this news isn’t unexpected at this time of the year, but does mean that certain precautions must be taken.
“We want to reassure residents that we’re monitoring the situation closely,” Smith said.
Health Officer Richard Canuel said the town has been working closely with Dragon Mosquito Control to regularly trap and test the insects, as it does every year, and that weekly testing would continue throughout the summer and mid-fall.
He said all known mosquito breeding sites would be closely monitored and treated as needed.
Symptoms of EEE in humans typically occur within four to 10 days of being bitten by an infected mosquito and manifest as fever, headache and other flu-like symptoms.
With Londonderry Old Home Days in full swing this weekend, those spending time outdoors are encouraged to practice caution and common sense in the days ahead.
“In the meantime, residents are encouraged to enjoy this weekend’s activities while taking precautions,” said Smith.
State health officials advise using mosquito repellent containing either DEET or Picardin, wearing long sleeves and pants outdoors and checking their homes for ill-fitting door and window screens.
Locals can also do their part by removing any vessels of standing water around their yards and other outdoor areas. The hours of 3 p.m. to 8 a.m. seem to be the buggiest times of the day, and folks might consider limiting their time outdoors then.
“With all the recent rain, it is imperative that we eliminate mosquito-breeding areas to help reduce the risk,” said Canuel.
Londonderry’s 2014 mosquito-control program began the first week of April, according to Dragon Mosquito officials.
As part of the annual program, the company applied various insecticides around the town common and on the fields at Matthew Thornton, Londonderry Middle and Londonderry High schools prior to the start of Old Home Days.
With the discovery of EEE in town, those areas will be sprayed again, as well as the fields at Moose Hill, North and South schools, the Nelson and West Road fields and the fields behind Victory Church. Town officials stressed that the risk of a human contracting EEE and other mosquito-borne illnesses, while still relatively low, doesn’t end until after two consecutive frosts. “In this part of the state, that may not occur until after Halloween,” Canuel warned.
Smith said all town and school recreation fields would be sprayed with insecticide at the beginning of next week, immediately following Sunday night’s conclusion of Old Home Days. For more information on mosquitoes or EEE, contact Dragon Mosquito Control at 734-4144 or send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.