New Hampshire health officials are preparing for mosquito season.
Mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis are far less common than tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme disease, and state testing won't get underway until mid-summer.
But Beth Daly, the state’s Chief of Infectious Disease Surveillance, says because both can be dangerous or even fatal in some cases, she's urging the public to take precautions, like wearing insect repellant and wearing long-sleeved clothing outdoors.
“We start doing a lot of public education this time of year,” Daly says. “We also communicate with physicians and other health care providers, reminding them of what the symptoms are, so they can be on the lookout for these types of illnesses and making sure that they’re appropriately diagnosing them and reporting them to us, so we can keep track of them as well.”
Sarah MacGregor of Dragon Mosquito Control in Stratham says she’s expecting a very buggy start to summer this year.
“Beginning in June, we start trapping adult mosquitoes, and beginning July 1st, the state will begin testing mosquitoes,” MacGregor says. “That will continue until October 1st unless the state extended their testing season.”
New Hampshire saw three human cases of EEE in 2014, two of them fatal. There were no reported cases of West Nile in the state last year.
MacGregor says while the risk of mosquito-borne diseases hasn’t started yet, residents should start taking precautions now, by checking for sources of standing water in which the insects might breed.