CONCORD — The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Public Health Services reminds people that the risk of diseases from mosquitoes is still present until we experience a statewide hard frost when temperatures drop below freezing for several hours.
“Fall is the riskiest time of year for contracting diseases from mosquitoes. Although mosquito populations have decreased, the ones that are still around are more likely to be infected with diseases like Eastern Equine Encephalitis. It is critical to keep using personal protective measures like insect repellent this time of year,” said Lisa Morris, DPHS Director. “Many people are outdoors enjoying fairs, hunting, hiking and biking. We want everyone to enjoy these activities while taking the appropriate steps to prevent mosquito bites that may cause serious and potentially fatal illnesses.”
Insect repellants should continue to be worn for outdoor activities by everyone, including children at daycare centers. New Hampshire people and animals are at risk for three mosquito-borne diseases: Eastern Equine Encephalitis, West Nile Virus, and Jamestown Canyon Virus. Since 2004, there have been 15 human infections with EEE identified in New Hampshire. WNV was first identified in New Hampshire in 2000, and since then, there have been seven cases. Since 2013, a total of seven JCV cases have been reported.
Only 37 New Hampshire towns and cities, none of which are in Coos County, collect mosquitoes for disease testing, leaving the vast majority without scheduled trapping and testing. You may have EEE, WNV or JCV circulating in your area and not be aware because testing is not being performed in your town. Reports of all EEE, WNV and JCV identifications for this season as well as a map of the towns providing mosquito trapping can be found on the DHHS website at dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/arboviral/documents/arbomap.pdf
Do not forget that this time of year ticks are also active and biting. Tick bite prevention is also important until there is snow covering the ground. Guidelines for mosquito and tick bite prevention are listed below. More information is available on the DHHS website at dhhs.nh.gov and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov. Anyone with questions about arboviruses can call the New Hampshire Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at (603) 271-4496.