Eastern Equine Encephalitis, also known as triple E, has been detected for the first time this year in New Hampshire. The Department of Health and Human Services found the disease, which can be fatal to humans, in a batch of mosquitos from Londonderry.
Eleven humans have contracted the disease in New Hampshire since 2005, though there have been no recorded cases since 2009.
Abigail Mathewson State Public Health Veternarian says the discovery marks the beginning of mosquito-borne illness season.
While mosquitoes in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Vermont have tested positive for West Nile Virus, so far, Granite State bugs are coming up clean.
The state doesn’t start testing mosquitoes until the first of July. Vector Borne Disease Surveillance Coordinator Whitney Howe says that’s because it usually takes a few extra weeks for New Hampshire to heat up into good mosquito habitat. And while it’s been a wet summer, Howe says that’s not a guarantee we’ll see an uptick in West Nile cases.
State health officials announced today that three animals have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis.
Along with two emus in Fitzwilliam and a horse in Derry, a man in northeastern Massachusetts has also tested positive for the mosquito-borne virus. Officials are warning residents of Seabrook, South Hampton and Newton to be on alert.
Jose Montero is the state’s Director of Public Health.
Mosquitoes get West Nile Virus from birds, and then they give it to us. It’s Ryan Naujoks's job to stop that. He works for Dragon Mosquito Control, a private company that municipalities like Derry hire to spray insecticides.
"I’m at Rider Field right now, and everything is locked up," Naujoks says over the phone. "Rider Field…"
Eventually, someone from the Town of Derry comes and unlocks the gates. Naujoks fires up the sprayer.
The truck makes a lap around the field emitting a small puff of white smoke.
Eighteen new batches of mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile Virus in the greater Manchester, Nashua and Salem areas.
The state epidemiologist says this is the first announcement of West Nile Virus from the state this year. The city of Manchester has already reported 8 mosquito batches that tested positive. That brings the state total so far to 26, 23 in Manchester alone. 2 batches tested positive in Nashua and 1 in Salem.
Last year New Hampshire only found a total of 9 positive batches.