Unwelcome visitors: Manchester mosquito pool tests positive for West Nile Virus

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MANCHESTER, NH – A batch of mosquitoes collected in Manchester have tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV), the first positive outcome so far in NH this year.

“This  is  the  first  positive  mosquito test result in New Hampshire this season,”  said NH State Epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan, “NH residents and visitors need to make sure they take precautions to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes  as  we  head  into  the  fall,  the most risky time of year for mosquito-borne illnesses like WNV and EEE.”

Symptoms  of  the WNV usually appear within a week after being 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. If you or someone you know is experiencing flu-like symptoms, including fever and headache, contact your local medical provider.

WNV, along with Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), are arboviruses that are transmitted from the bite of an infected mosquito. WNV was first identified in  New Hampshire in August of 2000.

The Public Health Lab has tested 3,048 mosquito batches, two animals, and 46 people so far this season for WNV and EEE.  There have been no positive tests for EEE yet this year.

Last year, one mosquito  batch  tested positive for WNV in New Hampshire and there were 18 positive  batches for EEE. No animals tested positive for WNV last year but there were three EEE positive animals. Three humans were determined to have been  infected  with  EEE last year as well, with two fatalities, but there were no people found infected with WNV.

 Tips to prevent the spread of West Nile Virus
  • Eliminate standing water and other mosquito breeding locations.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites.

Anyone with questions about WNV/EEE can call 1-866-273-6453 between 8 AM to 4:30  p.m.  Monday through Friday. Other information about EEE and West Nile virus  are  available  on  the  DHHS  website at www.dhhs.nh.gov and on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov.

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About this Author

Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of ManchesterInkLink.com. Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!