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September 12. 2013 12:05PM

EEE found in Derry horse, increasing public's risk

CONCORD — A horse in Derry tested positive for eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), putting people in that town at a “high” risk level for contracting the deadly virus, the state Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday.

Health officials also said a Sandown mosquito batch has tested positive for EEE. And a Hampstead mosquito batch tested positive for West Nile virus.

As a result, health officials said towns surrounding Derry will be raised to a “moderate” risk level.

“These results highlight the fact that these illnesses affect not just mosquitoes, but animals and of course people, too,” said Dr. José Montero, public health director at DHHS. “It is also an indication that mosquitoes do not respect borders, and as a result can infect animals and people in any corner of our state. This follows closely our identification of a person with West Nile virus in Chesterfield so I want to reiterate the importance of protecting against mosquito bites no matter where you live until there is a killing frost statewide.”

So far this season New Hampshire’s public health lab has tested 4,263 batches of mosquitoes. Of those, 10 tested positive for West Nile and 13 tested positive for EEE. One person was also diagnosed with West Nile.

The test results announced Thursday are the first animal found positive for EEE this season. So far, no animal has tested positive for West Nile.

EEE is a serious disease that carries a high mortality rate for those who contract the serious encephalitis form of the illness. Symptoms may include high fever, severe headache, and stiff neck. There is no treatment for the disease, which can lead to seizures and coma. Symptoms usually occur four to 10 days after being bitten. Symptoms of West Nile disease often appear four to 10 days after being bitten. If you or someone you know is experiencing flu-like symptoms, including fever and headache, contact your local medical provider.

Questions about EEE and West NIle can be answered by calling the toll-free EEE/West Nile virus information line at 1-866-273-6453. You can also find extensive information about both diseases on the state website at www.dhhs.nh.gov.


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