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CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — It’s mosquito season, and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging people to take precautions against the West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.
The department says the most likely time for mosquitoes to spread disease is June through September.
In 2012, nine batches of mosquitoes tested positive for EEE and 41 batches tested positive for WNV.
There was one human case of West Nile Virus, but no EEE cases. Among animals, there were two horses and two emus that had EEE, but none detected for West Nile.
In 2011, nine batches of mosquitoes tested positive for West Nile Virus and no samples tested positive for EEE. In 2010, one animal and one person tested positive for West Nile, and one animal tested positive for EEE.
Jose Montero, director of public health at the department, said the numbers illustrate the unpredictability of the viruses.
“The weather plays a role, as do environmental factors, so we just don’t know from year to year what will happen,” he said. “Therefore, it is important that we remind residents that these diseases are preventable. It is essential that people follow precautionary steps, most importantly using an insect repellent, to avoid becoming infected by one of these diseases.”
Symptoms for EEE may include high fever, severe headache and a sore throat. A stiff neck is another symptom, and it can lead to seizures and a coma. Symptoms usually occur four to 10 days after someone is bitten.
The risk of contracting infection from the West Nile Virus is low. Mild, flu-like symptoms are most common. In some cases, it can cause meningitis. Illness happens within three to 15 days after being bitten.