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N.H. officials warn of mosquito-borne diseases

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire health officials are encouraging residents and visitors to take precautions against mosquitoes and the diseases they may bring, especially the West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

The most likely time for mosquitoes to spread disease is June through September.

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Last year, 24 batches of mosquitoes in the state tested positive for EEE and 14 batches tested positive for West Nile. Three horses tested positive for EEE and one for West Nile. There was also a human case of West Nile, but no EEE cases.

Symptoms for EEE may include high fever, severe headache and a sore throat. A stiff neck is a symptom of the severe form of the disease, which can lead to seizures and coma.

The risk of contracting the West Nile virus infection is low and, in the majority of cases, there are no symptoms or just mild, flu-like symptoms.

At times, the virus can cause meningitis and can be a serious threat to seniors, young children, and those with compromised immune systems.

‘‘Though the numbers of human infections for West Nile Virus and EEE have been low for the past couple of years, unfortunately we can never predict from year to year how prevalent these diseases are going to be,’’ said Dr. José Montero, the department’s director of public health. ‘‘The weather from year to year plays a role, but it is important that residents take the appropriate precautions every year, most importantly using an insect repellent, to avoid becoming infected by one of these diseases.’’

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