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DHHS Identifies First Positive Test for EEE This Year

January 20, 2010

Concord, NH - The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) today announces the first positive test for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) this year. A horse in Freedom (Carroll County) was identified with the disease. This is the first indication of EEE in New Hampshire this year. As of August 14, the State Public Health Lab has tested 851 mosquito pools, 4 animals, and 20 human specimens from across the State for EEE and West Nile Virus, but all have been negative until now. Last year 73 mosquito pools, 13 animals, and 1 person tested positive for EEE but there were no WNV positives in the State.

"Even though this summer has been dryer than normal we still expected, unfortunately, to see cases of EEE and WNV," said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. "It is important to remember, however, that both of these diseases are preventable. The best way to protect yourself and your family is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. We want to urge everybody to use effective insect repellent and to wear long sleeves and pants while outside at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active. Also, eliminate places where water can collect on your property,such as pool covers and flower pots, that allow mosquitoes to breed, and have your horses vaccinated."

The public health threat declaration remains in effect this year, as last year, for Rockingham, Eastern Hillsborough, Southern Merrimack, and Southern Strafford Counties. DHHS has a toll-free information line for questions about EEE and West Nile Virus at 1-866-273-6453. DHHS is working with medical providers and local health officials to ensure the public's health through surveillance for these diseases and proactive prevention and control strategies.

Considerable resources about EEE and West Nile Virus are available on the DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov. You can also view a prevention video at www.youtube.com

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