Statement on Public Health Hazards for Southern NH for the West Nile Virus

Statement on Public Health Hazards for Southern NH for the West Nile Virus

The state has issued a statement on public health threats to the West Nile virus in southern New Hampshire.

The risk of contracting the disease is considered high in Manchester after the authorities said that the highest number of mosquitoes tested positive for the virus in five years.

>> DHHS Info: West Nile Virus and EEE

No cases of West Nile virus were reported in New Hampshire this year, but 11 cases were diagnosed in Massachusetts. Health officials said the statement was a proactive step to ensure that communities do everything in their power to prevent the spread of the virus.

Heavy rain and heat in August resulted in high mosquito numbers, officials said. Experts urged residents to take precautions against the bite.

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"The school is going out and the sun is setting at 7 o'clock, which means that most children are out at sunset, which puts them in danger," said Sarah MacGregor of Dragon Mosquito Control.

MacGregor identifies and sorts mosquitoes by species and then tests them for disease in the state lab.

"If this is positive, we know exactly what species, where and when it was collected, so we can decide what the next measure should be," she said.

Since the beginning of July, 16 batches from the southern part of the state have been tested positive for the West Nile virus.

"It's really scary to know that West Nile can kill you," Donna Fedele from Plaistow said.

The state issued a Declaration on Public Health Hazards to speed up the approval process for mosquito control cities.

Residents are encouraged to use mosquito repellents, wear long sleeves and trousers – especially at dawn and dusk – and empty stagnant water.

The risk of mosquitoes is not over until there are two hard freezing or snow on the ground, experts said.

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