New Hampshire Identifies First Positive Test For WNV

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The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) today announced the first positive test for West Nile virus (WNV) this year. A mosquito pool from the town of Kensington in Rockingham County tested positive for the disease. This is the first indication of WNV in New Hampshire this year and there have been no positives for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) identified yet this year. Last year there were no positives for WNV identified in the State but 6 mosquito pools, 2 animals, and 3 people tested positive for EEE.

"This is not unexpected," said Nicholas Toumpas, DHHS Commissioner. "While we should all enjoy the beautiful weather and it is late in the season, we cannot let our guard down. The best way to protect your family and yourself is to take simple prevention steps. We urge everybody to use effective insect repellent and try to wear long sleeves and pants while outside at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active. With the heavy rains this summer, it is especially important that people remove any water collecting on their property in artificial containers, such as in flower pots or pool covers."

DHHS has a toll-free hotline for EEE/West Nile virus at 1-866-273-6453 for information about these diseases. So far this year as of August 23rd, the State Public Health Lab has tested 5,676 mosquito pools, 4 animals, and 118 human specimens from across the State for EEE and West Nile virus, but this is the first positive. DHHS is working with medical providers and local health officials to ensure the public's health through surveillance for these diseases and proactive prevention and control strategies. Considerable resources about EEE and West Nile virus are available on the DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov.

"We have continued our surveillance efforts this year for these diseases and will enhance local efforts as needed through State-sponsored mosquito trapping," said Dr. Jose Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. "I am hopeful that this WNV/EEE season will be short and that we will have an early frost, but people should continue to be vigilant with prevention measures such as wearing mosquito repellant until that time. There are several effective mosquito repellents available and people are encouraged to choose the one that works best for them and use it consistently."

Prevention Guidelines for West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis

1. Eliminate standing water and other mosquito breeding locations around your property. Please do not attempt to drain or alter natural waterbodies for mosquito control, since the management of ponds and wetlands is regulated by the Department of Environmental Services and any planned alterations will require a permit before work may begin. In warm weather, mosquitoes can breed in any puddle that lasts more than 4 days!

* 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 outside.

* 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.

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* 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 properties.

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.

* 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 socks.

* 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, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 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.

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