Officials report first human case of West Nile Virus in Chesterfield
CHESTERFIELD, N.H. -- The first human case of West Nile Virus this season was identified in a local adult, the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday.
The resident has recovered from the infection, the first one reported in New Hampshire since August 2012. This brings the number of documented human WNV infections in the state to nine. The first case of WNV in New Hampshire was identified in August 2000.
Whitney Howe, vectorborne disease surveillance coordinator with the state's DHHS' Division of Public Health Services, said the positive test for the infection was confirmed by the state's laboratory in Concord. She said it is hard to say if the adult got infected in Chesterfield, or somewhere else, because mosquitoes are able to fly around a great distance. For this reason, the Division of Public Health Services examines viruses such as WNV at the regional level, as opposed to a local one.
Howe said roughly one person out of every 150 infected with WNV contracts a severe disease. The majority, she told the Reformer, never know they have WNV and simply experience flu-like symptoms such as fever and headache before the infection subsides. She said symptoms of a more severe case include neck stiffness, muscle weaknesses and confusion.
Howe was unaware of the mortality rate of WNV.
According to the DHHS, WNV has been detected in eight mosquito batches in Pelham, Nashua, Kensington, New Castle, Sandown and Stratham so far this year. There have been 12 cases of batches tested positive for the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus.
The DHHS reports WNV is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Symptoms, if they ever occur, often do so four to 10 days after the bite.
Howe said people more than 50 years old are considered to be at the highest risk for WNV.
DHHS advises protecting yourself against WNV and EEE by using effective mosquito repellent, wearing love sleeves and pants at dawn and dusk and checking doors and windows to ensure screens are in place and in good condition to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.
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