The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is announcing the second human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) this season in an adult from Hopkinton. The first human case of EEE in New Hampshire this season was confirmed on August 22nd in Conway, NH. Other EEE positive tests this year include 6 mosquito batches and a mule; there have been no positive test results so far for West Nile Virus (WNV).

 Merrimack County, New Hampshire Image/David Benbennick
Merrimack County, New Hampshire
Image/David Benbennick

Due to this human case, the risk level for human illness in Hopkinton will be raised to high, and the surrounding towns to moderate risk. Other areas of the State currently considered at high risk are the Conway and Candia areas.

“Mosquito seasons are unpredictable,” said DHHS Public Health Director Dr. José Montero. “West Nile Virus was very common the last couple of years but EEE was not as prevalent. This acts as a reminder that viruses change, mosquitoes fly, and there are many factors involved, so since we do know that both of these disease are present in mosquitoes in New Hampshire, it is important that everyone remember to take steps to prevent mosquito bites to themselves and their loved ones.”

In 2013, there were 27 positives for EEE, including 24 mosquito batches and 3 animals. EEE and WNV are transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes.

Symptoms of EEE disease often appear 4 to 10 days after someone is bitten by an infected mosquito. If you or someone you know is experiencing flu-like symptoms, including fever and headache, contact your local medical provider. EEE is a more serious disease than WNV and carries a high mortality rate for those who contract the serious encephalitis form of the illness. Symptoms may include high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, and sore throat. There is no specific treatment for the disease, which can lead to seizures and coma.

You can protect yourself and your family from WNV and EEE with a few simple steps, such as using effective mosquito repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active, removing standing water from around your house so mosquitoes do not have a place to breed, and by checking doors and windows to ensure screens are in place and in good condition to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.