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No mosquito spraying ... for now

Staff and Correspondent Reports
August 02. 2013 7:59PM

A report of a Hillsborough County man infected by two rare viruses, one spread by a deer tick and the other by a mosquito, will not result in a round of mosquito spraying in Manchester or Derry.

Health officials in those communities said no testing is done to detect either the Jamestown Canyon virus, spread by mosquitoes, or Powassan, spread by the deer tick.

And, they said, any mosquito spraying would only be done based on positive testing of mosquito pools for the potentially deadly West Nile Virus or Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE, and in consultation with the state or, in Derry’s case, with its contractor, Dragon Mosquito Control of Stratham.

Tim Soucy, director of the Manchester Health Department, said mosquito spraying in Manchester would be done after consultation with state health officials and if the vector-borne viruses had been found in humans or animals. And, because of cost, the only areas that would be sprayed are in the public areas — parks, playgrounds and school athletic fields.

Derry Health Officer Paul Raiche said in the spring, Dragon Mosquito Control sprayed for mosquito larvae in the town’s public areas, such as parks, playgrounds and at schools. Spraying to kill adult mosquitoes, he said, would be done when and if Dragon Mosquito recommended it based on test results.

As of Friday, however, there has only been one report statewide — in Pelham — of a positive test result for West Nile.

Soucy said his staff is keeping a close tab on the test results. The city collects live mosquitoes four nights a week at three undisclosed locations, with two traps at each location. So far, none has tested positive for West Nile or EEE.

Last year, 700 mosquito batches were tested; 31 were positive for West Nile and one positive for EEE.

Raiche and Soucy both said they know of no community that sprays for ticks.

Heidi Peek, Nashua’s environmental health officer, said the city does not use pesticide spray to control mosquitoes or ticks.

“We are more focused on surveillance right now,” Peek said.

However, the city does enter each year with an emergency spray permit in place as a precaution, which would enable pesticides to be sprayed if it is deemed necessary.

Still, since the time Peek has been working for the city, spraying has never occurred, she said.

Peek said she is aware of the one individual who has been infected with two bug-borne diseases that have made their first-ever appearance in New Hampshire recently.

“Certainly, people need to be aware of certain exposures,” she said.

At this time, Nashua is not considering spraying pesticides, but is continuously testing and surveying spots that are prone to diseases such as West Nile Virus, Peek said.

“We don’t have any diseases present right now,” she said. “But it is something that goes on until the first hard frost.”

If the city were to consider spraying pesticides, Peek said that would likely occur in public locations where people gather in the evening, not street-by-street.

“We would need to get the public aware before that took place,” she said.

Union Leader Correspondent Kimberly Houghton contributed to this report.

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