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West Nile Virus a "Public Health Threat" in Southern N.H.

Centers for Disease Control
Credit Centers for Disease Control
N.H. officials say the number of mosquitoes testing positive with West Nile Virus in 2018 is higher than average.

The numbers of mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile Virus in southern New Hampshire is on the rise, prompting officials to issue a public health threat declaration for the region.

On Thursday, Governor Sununu and the Department of Health and Human Services announced that 30 municipalities in southern New Hampshire are at increased risk of West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). 

The declaration expedites the permitting process for municipalities that want to spray. DHHS says it typically takes 60 days to process a request; now it should take only 10 days.

Some cities, including Manchester,have already sprayed this year

There are no human cases of WNV detected this season in New Hampshire, but some birds have tested positive, and Maine and Massachusetts have reported human cases.

The virus can be serious, but most people who get it have mild or no symptoms. DHHS provides resources on its websitewith a list of best practices for WNV and EEE prevention.

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Sarah Gibson joined NHPR's newsroom in 2018. She reports on New Hampshire's southern tier.