HHS: Horse in Deerfield tests positive for EEE
A horse in Deerfield has tested positive for eastern equine encephalitis, a mosquito-borne illness that can be deadly to humans, the Department of Health and Human Services announced yesterday.
“Even though it is October, there are still mosquitoes around and therefore the risk for more cases of EEE and West Nile virus,” Dr. Jose Montero, the state public health director, said in a statement. “Until there is a killing frost that covers the entire state it is important that people protect against mosquito bites no matter where you live.”
The Deerfield horse was the third New Hampshire horse to test positive for EEE this year, joining animals in Ossipee and Derry.
In response, the department has raised the risk level for EEE from “remote” to “high” in Deerfield. The risk level was raised to “moderate” in surrounding towns – Allenstown, Candia, Epsom, Hooksett, Northwood, Nottingham and Raymond.
A Chesterfield resident recovered this year from West Nile virus, another disease transmitted by mosquitoes. Out of 5,121 batches of mosquitoes tested this season by state officials, 14 have tested positive for West Nile and 20 have tested positive for EEE.
Symptoms of EEE include a high fever, a severe headache and a stiff neck. They typically occur four to 10 days after a bite from an infected mosquito.
There is no treatment, and the mortality rate is approximately 33 percent, with most survivors experiencing “significant brain damage,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The most important precaution people can take is using insect repellent, Montero said – specifically, a repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535.
Other recommend steps are:
∎ Wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors when mosquitoes are biting.
∎ Making sure to remove standing water around your home where mosquitoes can breed, such as in tires, flower pots or pool covers.
∎ Making sure screens on windows and doors fit tightly and do not have holes.
∎ Monitoring yourself if you are bitten by mosquitoes and telling your health care provider if you develop any symptoms.
More information about both diseases is available from the Department of Health and Human Services’ toll-free hotline, 866-273-6453.
(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)