By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
An adult from Kingston, NH tested positive for both Jamestown Canyon virus (JCV) and Powassan virus (POW), the first time these vector-borne diseases have been identified in the State in 2019, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reports.
The two viruses are transmitted by different vectors–JCV is transmitted by infected mosquitoes and POW is transmitted by infected ticks. The patient had no recent history of travel outside New Hampshire and spent a great amount of time outdoors.
“From spring until fall, New Hampshire residents and visitors are at risk for a number of different infections from the bite of mosquitoes and ticks, and this case highlights the risk from both,” said Dr. Benjamin Chan, State Epidemiologist. “In addition to Jamestown Canyon virus and Powassan virus, there are a number of other viral and bacterial infections that can be transmitted by mosquitoes and ticks in New Hampshire, and we recommend that residents and visitors continue to take basic steps to prevent mosquito and tick bites in order to stay healthy.”
Jamestown Canyon virus is a mosquito-borne pathogen that circulates widely in North America primarily between deer and a variety of mosquito species, but it can also infect humans. First reported in the early 1970s, reports in humans are rare but have been increasing over the last several years. This is New Hampshire’s seventh case of JCV since the first report of the disease in 2013. Most reported illnesses caused by JCV have been mild, but moderate-to-severe central nervous system involvement has been reported.
Powassan virus infection is similar to mosquito-borne viruses like JCV, West Nile virus (WNV), and Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), but is transmitted to people by infected ticks. POW was identified as a cause of human illness in the late 1950’s. In the last decade, 144 cases of POW have been detected in the United States. This is New Hampshire’s fourth case of POW, also since 2013. In New Hampshire, the blacklegged tick is the most likely to transmit this virus to people. A tick needs to be attached to a person for only 15 minutes to transmit POW. Some people who are infected may experience mild illness or no symptoms. Powassan virus can also infect the central nervous system causing brain inflammation, which may be disabling or fatal.