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Two new bug-borne viruses detected in Granite State

State health officials announced the first-ever detection of two bug-borne diseases in the state of New Hampshire -- both diseases found in the same person, who they describe as a Hillsborough County male.

Neither disease is usually life-threatening, but the two diseases can infect the central nervous system, a potentially serious complication.

The person tested positive for the Jamestown Canyon virus, which is spread by mosquitoes, and the Powassan virus, which is spread by deer ticks.

"These have been in the U.S. for awhile and Powassan was found in Maine and Vermont previously so this is not entirely unexpected," said Dr. José Montero, New Hampshire director of public health. "There are many mosquito- and tick-borne illnesses and unfortunately we are probably going to continue to see cases of them, which makes prevention steps all the more important."

The announcement comes a day after officials said on Wednesday they have detected the mosquito-borne West Nile virus in Pelham, the first such detection this year in the state.

Because Jamestown Canyon and Powassan viruses are rare, there is not a lot known about the illness they cause, where they are located in the environment, and how many people may have already been infected.

Health officials urge residents to use bug spray, wear long sleeves and pants during dawn and dusk, check for ticks and eliminate standing pools of water.


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