A Laconia resident has tested positive for Jamestown Canyon virus, New Hampshire health officials announced Wednesday, marking the second known case in the state this year.
The patient — described in a news release from the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services only as an adult — was treated and is recovering, according to Sarah E.M. Stanley, a spokeswoman for the agency.
Like West Nile virus and the virus that causes Eastern equine encephalitis, Jamestown Canyon is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Many people who contract Jamestown Canyon virus have either no symptoms or symptoms consistent with more common illnesses, but in rare cases, it can be fatal, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In August, New Hampshire’s health department announced that an adult from Kingston had tested positive for the virus. That patient — who likewise recovered, according to department spokesman Jake Leon — also tested positive for the tick-borne Powassan virus.
With the Laconia case, New Hampshire has now recorded eight human Jamestown Canyon virus cases since the disease was first reported in the state in 2013, the release says. The risk of mosquito-borne infection in Laconia is now being raised to high, with the risk level in the surrounding communities of Belmont, Gilford, Meredith, Tilton and Sanbornton rising to moderate.
On Friday, health officials announced the risk level in Francestown was being increased to high after a horse there contracted EEE. As in a similar case in Northwood announced in late August, the horse was euthanized.
“There are still [mosquitoes] present this time of year that can transmit a variety of infections, including Jamestown Canyon Virus,” Dr. Benjamin Chan, state epidemiologist, said in Wednesday’s news release. “It is important for residents and visitors to continue to take precautions to protect themselves from mosquito bites.”
People will continue to be at risk of illness from mosquitoes until there are two hard frosts statewide, the release says.
Tips for reducing this danger include limiting time outside when mosquitoes are most active — from dusk to dawn — and wearing pants, long-sleeved shirts and socks, and using an insect repellent with up to 30 percent DEET, picaridin, para-menthane-diol or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
People can reduce mosquitoes’ presence in their homes by fixing or replacing screens and ensuring they’re tight-fitting and by using sweeping motions to get mosquitoes out from behind furniture and under beds and then killing them, according to the state health department.
People can also make their properties less attractive to mosquitoes by eliminating weeds, tall grasses and bushes (which also helps ward off ticks), as well as the standing water where mosquitoes lay eggs. This includes puddles in tires, roof gutters and recycling containers. The water in birdbaths should be changed twice a week at minimum, according to the health department, and pools and hot tubs should be chlorinated, and kept empty and covered if they’re not being used. Garden ponds can either be aerated or stocked with fish.
Anyone with questions about Jamestown Canyon, EEE or other viruses spread by mosquitoes or other arthropods (such as ticks) can call the state’s Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at 271-4496 or see the state’s website at www.dhhs.nh.gov.