West Nile is back at it. Just this week there have been numerous articles posted about the mosquito-borne disease popping up across the country, but one New Hampshire resident has is doubly as bad. While he doesn’t have West Nile, he did test positive for not one, but two rare vector-borne diseases: Jamestown Canyon virus and Powassan virus.
Neither the Jamestown Canyon virus nor the Powassan virus had ever been reported in the state of New Hampshire before this case; “while this is our first announcement of Jamestown Canyon virus and Powassan virus in New Hampshire, these have been in the U.S. for a while, and Powassan was found in Maine and Vermont previously so this is not entirely unexpected,” explains Dr. Jose Montero, Director of Public Health at the Department of Health and Human Services.
The Jamestown Canyon virus was first found in California in the 1940s. It is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito, but human cases are very rare. It is more commonly passed between deer and mosquitoes. Symptoms include fever and headache.
The Powassan virus is a tick-borne encephalitis that was first found in Ontario and has been responsible for 39 US deaths since 2008. Symptoms don’t usually show until 1-3 weeks after infection. While it isn’t known how long it can take a tick to transmit Powassan to a human, it takes less than 15 minutes to transmit to a mouse (in comparison, it takes a tick over 24 hours to transmit Lyme to a human).
I’ll be honest and admit that I had never heard of Jamestown Canyon virus or Powassan virus before, but it doesn’t surprise me that these rare diseases are rearing their ugly heads. As mosquito and tick populations rise across many parts of the country, we may hear of more vector-borne diseases. As Dr. Montero explains “There are many mosquito and tick borne illnesses, and unfortunately, we are probably going to continue to see cases of them, which makes prevention steps all the more important.”
At Mosquito Squad, we help protect our clients and their families with our professional mosquito control. Our barrier spray program will cut down your property’s mosquito population by 85-90%, allowing you to once again enjoy your yard without bites. When visiting places that don’t have mosquito control, we suggest applying a DEET product to exposed areas of the skin.