SANBORNTON — A horse in an unspecified Sanbornton location has been diagnosed with Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus, said Health Officer Bill Tobin yesterday morning. The town was notified of the diagnosis on Thursday evening.
The mosquito-born virus has become increasingly prevalent in New England over the last 10 years. This is the first instance that EEE has been observed in Sanbornton.
The N.H. Department of Health and Human Services said on Friday that since September there have been 18 mosquito batches, three animals, and three humans within the state that tested positive for EEE, including the horse diagnosed on Thursday. Two of the humans, an adult who lived in Manchester and an adult who lived in Conway died.
On Friday morning, selectmen held an emergency meeting with Tobin, select town officials and first responders. Information about EEE will be posted on the Sanbornton town website at www.sanborntonnh.org.
Tobin said town officials have also informed the Winnisquam Regional School District, Sant Bani School and the Montessori House of Children about the issue.
EEE is transmitted through the bites of infected mosquitoes. State health officials encourage all residents to take precautions against mosquito bites by using effective repellents, wearing long sleeves and long pants, and removing standing water from property to prevent mosquito breeding grounds.
Tobin said all horse owners should confirm their animal's immunizations and watch for strange behavior. Any unusual behavior in horses, donkeys or mules should be reported immediately to the DHHS Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at 271-4496 and to a veterinarian.
The DHHS said symptoms in humans usually occur about four to 10 days after being bitten and can include high fever, severe headaches, a stiff neck and a sore throat. People exhibiting similar symptoms should contact their medical provider.
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