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State health officials issue threat declaration against West Nile virus, EEE

New Hampshire Union Leader

September 13. 2018 11:12PM

CONCORD — State officials issued a public health threat declaration Thursday for southern New Hampshire for West Nile virus and eastern equine encephalitis.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the public health declaration — which state officials say will make it easier for their counterparts in local municipalities to take mosquito population control measures — has been issued through the rest of the year in the following communities: Amherst, Atkinson, Auburn, Bedford, Brentwood, Candia, Chester, Danville, Derry, Epping, Fremont, Goffstown, Hampstead, Hollis, Hooksett, Hudson, Kingston, Litchfield, Londonderry, Manchester, Merrimack, Nashua, Newton, Pelham, Plaistow, Raymond, Salem, Sandown and Windham.

Under the declaration, these cities and towns will be able to implement mosquito population control measures — including spraying — after obtaining the necessary permits.

According to DHHS, Thursday’s declaration comes after 16 mosquito batches tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV) in New Hampshire since the beginning of July: nine in Manchester, three in Nashua, and one each in Salem, Keene, North Hampton and Rye.

“Based on our surveillance information, we believe there is an increased risk for human illness in the southern part of the state,” said Jeffrey Meyers, DHHS Commissioner. “Neighboring states have reported cases in humans, including one in Maine and four in Massachusetts. We are being proactive in New Hampshire, especially as we head into the fall, when mosquito-borne illnesses are most common.”

Health officials in Manchester announced last month the risk level for human illness in the Queen City is categorized as “High,” given the number of mosquito batches that have tested positive there.

Additionally, three hawks and one crow have tested positive in southern New Hampshire this year. EEE has not been detected in the Granite State so far this year.

WNV and EEE are arboviruses that are transmitted from the bite of an infected mosquito. State health officials urge residents and visitors to New Hampshire to protect themselves and their family members by using an effective mosquito repellant that contains 30 percent DEET, wearing long sleeves and pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active, and removing standing water from around homes to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds. Repellents with picaridin, IR3535 and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products also provide protection against mosquito bites, officials said.

According to health officials, symptoms of WNV usually appear within a week after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito, although many people can be infected and not develop any symptoms, or only develop very mild symptoms. Symptoms can include flu-like illness including fever, muscle aches, headaches, and fatigue. A very small percentage of individuals infected with WNV can go on to develop more serious central nervous system disease, including meningitis or encephalitis, health officials said.

DHHS urges anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms, including fever and headache, to contact their local medical provider.

Anyone with questions about WNV/EEE can call the New Hampshire Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at 271-4496. More information is available on the DHHS website at

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