Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services has identified the first batches of mosquitoes to test positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis this season. The batches were found recently in the towns of Newton and Sandown and DHHS is working in partnership with the Newton and Sandown Health Officers to notify residents.
“These detections of EEE in mosquitos serve as a reminder for the need to protect oneself against mosquito bites to prevent EEE and other mosquito-borne diseases,” said NH State Epidemiologist, Dr. Benjamin Chan. “Even with the cooler weather, there are still mosquitoes that are out and biting. The most effective ways to prevent mosquito bites are to use an effective mosquito repellent that contains 30% DEET, avoid being outdoors at dawn and dusk, and remove standing water from around the home where mosquitoes reproduce.”
EEE was first identified in New Hampshire in August of 2004. This season, the DHHS Public Health Lab has tested 4,135 mosquito batches, 11 animals, and 18 people for West Nile Virus (WNV) and EEE. In addition to the two positive EEE mosquito batches in Newton and Sandown, 29 mosquito batches in NH have tested positive for WNV.
Symptoms of EEE virus often appear 4 to 10 days after being bitten by a mosquito carrying the EEE virus. People who get sick from EEE can develop a flu-like illness, including fever, headache, weakness, and muscle and joint pains. A more serious central nervous system infection can develop such as meningitis and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). EEE typically causes a more serious disease than WNV and carries a high mortality rate for those who contract the serious encephalitic form of the illness. There is no specific treatment for the disease.
Prevention guidelines for EEE and other mosquito-borne diseases can be found below. Anyone with questions about mosquito-borne diseases, including EEE, can call the New Hampshire Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at 603-271-4496. Fact Sheets on Easter Equine Encephalitis and other mosquito-borne diseases are available on the DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov. For more information, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov.