Governor John Lynch has concurred with a recommendation by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, and in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that a public health situation exists in several communities in southern New Hampshire due to the detection of West Nile Virus in several mosquito batches.
Under state statute, by concurring with the recommendation, towns are allowed to take measures to address the threat, including spraying for mosquitoes.
The letter from HHS to the Governor asking for concurrence and the Governor's response are below:
August 23, 2012
His Excellency, Governor John H. Lynch
Concord, NH 03301
Dear Governor Lynch:
Since 2006, several Public Health Threats have been declared in New Hampshire in response to arboviral disease, including Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile Virus (WNV). Such declarations have been critical in communicating the risk of disease and enabling the local governments to enact appropriate mosquito control activities.
Over the last four weeks, the Division of Public Health Service's arboviral surveillance system has identified 36 mosquito batches that have tested positive for WNV in New Hampshire. To date, these mosquito batches have been identified across the southeast portion of the State in the following towns: Manchester (29 positive mosquito batches), Nashua (3 positive batches), Salem (1 positive batch), Seabrook (1 positive batch), Brentwood (1 positive batch) and North Hampton (1 positive batch).
In 2011, WNV positive mosquito batches were identified in Portsmouth and Brentwood. However, the number of WNV positive mosquito batches thus far in 2012 represents the highest number to test positive in New Hampshire in the last ten years.
This week New Hampshire reported its first case of WNV in a human since 2010 (Manchester). We are hearing from other states in the Northeast Region, as well as from the CDC, that WNV activity appears to be increasing significantly this year. In the past week, Massachusetts also reported a human case of WNV. There have been 41 deaths associated with WNV this year in other parts of the country.
Based on our surveillance information mentioned above we believe that there is an increased risk for human illness in the southeast portion of the State. We have raised the arboviral risk level for human illness accordingly in affected areas including raising the risk level in the City of Manchester to "High."
Prevention of arboviral disease, including WNV and EEE, is possible and is done through some well known personal protective measures (mosquito repellent, long sleeves and pants, etc.), as well as basic environmental measures (use of intact screens, removal of standing water in the areas surrounding homes, etc.) With the increased risk of WNV and EEE, it is necessary as well to consider chemical mosquito population control measures. Those include larvicide and adulticide. In New Hampshire, local communities have the responsibility to decide on and implement those measures. The role of DHHS' Division of Public Health Services is to advise on the use of mosquito population control measures
Pursuant to NH RSA 141-C:25, III (a), the Department, in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which we have done, and with the concurrence of the Governor, may determine that a threat to the public health exists that warrants expedited mosquito control and abatement activities within a city, town or mosquito control district.
For the reasons stated above, NH DHHS is requesting that you concur with our request to declare a public health threat through 2012 for the following cites and towns: Amherst, Atkinson, Auburn, Bedford, Brentwood, Candia, Chester, Danville, Derry, East Kingston, Epping, Exeter, Fremont, Goffstown, Greenland, Hampstead, Hampton, Hampton Falls, Hollis, Hooksett, Hudson, Kensington, Kingston, Litchfield, Londonderry, Manchester, Merrimack, Nashua, New Castle, Newfields, Newington, Newmarket, Newton, North Hampton, Pelham, Plaistow, Portsmouth, Raymond, Rye, Salem, Sandown, Seabrook, South Hampton, Stratham and Windham.
Declaring a Public Health Threat pursuant to NH RSA 141-C:25, III (a) is an important component in our unified State/local approach towards decreasing arboviral illness in New Hampshire in 2012. Please contact me at any time with any questions on the above.
Nicholas A. Toumpas
August 24, 2012
Nicholas Toumpas, Commissioner
NH Department of Health and Human Services
129 Pleasant Street
Concord, N.H. 03301
Dear Commissioner Toumpas:
I have received notice of the detection of West Nile Virus in mosquito batches in several New Hampshire communities. In accordance with RSA 141-C:25, III(a), and your recommendation in consultation with the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, I concur that a threat to the public health exists in the municipalities of Amherst, Atkinson, Auburn, Bedford, Brentwood, Candia, Chester, Danville, Derry, East Kingston, Epping, Exeter, Fremont, Goffstown, Greenland, Hampstead, Hampton, Hampton Falls, Hollis, Hooksett, Hudson, Kensington, Kingston, Litchfield, Londonderry, Manchester, Merrimack, Nashua, New Castle, Newfields, Newington, Newmarket, Newton, North Hampton, Pelham, Plaistow, Portsmouth, Raymond, Rye, Salem, Sandown, Seabrook, South Hampton, Stratham, and Windham.
I look forward to continuing to work with you to ensure that the public remains well informed of the proper preventative measures to take in order to protect themselves and their families.
John H. Lynch