While West Nile virus, as the most common mosquito-transmitted disease, seems to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind these days, there is another arbovirus rearing its ugly head here in New Hampshire. Jamestown Canyon virus (JCV), while rare, seem to be creeping into the Granite State. Last year, we reported that it had been detected in Maine, but since then at least two cases were confirmed in New Hampshire, according to the Concord Monitor.
So what is Jamestown Canyon virus?
Jamestown Canyon virus is a disease transmitted by at least five species of mosquitoes. It is picked up when a mosquito bites an infected host, which in our region is most often a white-tailed deer. Since 2000, more than 100 confirmed cases of JCV were identified nationally, with the majority of them being in the Midwest and Northeast.
Symptoms of JCV are similar to other mosquito-transmitted diseases. Fever, muscle aches, fatigue, dizziness, and headaches are the most common, but like West Nile virus, many people who are infected show no symptoms at all. It can only be confirmed with a blood test. In severe cases, JCV can cause brain inflammation (encephalitis) and inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord (meningitis). There is no vaccine or specific treatment for it; treatments are usually by symptom that include getting plenty of rest, fluids, taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen for headaches, etc.
Older patients and those with compromised immune systems are the most susceptible to developing severe cases of JCV. In June of 2018, a man from New Hampshire with a confirmed case of JCV died from encephalitis, but it has yet to be determined whether he is the first recorded JCV fatality. But because he was a former cancer patient who underwent years of chemotherapy and had other medical issues, it has been difficult to put the cause of death solely on Jamestown Canyon virus. It was likely a factor, however.
Because it is a relatively rare mosquito-transmitted disease and officials are still learning more about it, it’s probably not necessary to panic about Jamestown Canyon virus at this time. But at Mosquito Squad, we feel a need to educate people on all things mosquito- and tick-related, and definitely wanted to put this on your “radar.”
Of course, the best defense against Jamestown Canyon virus, West Nile virus, or any other mosquito- or tick-borne illness is to avoid bites all together. With Mosquito Squad’s barrier treatment, we’ll drastically reduce the population of mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting bugs in your yard by nearly 90%, which is effective for up to 21 days. Don’t take chances with your health, but DO take back your yard. Call us at (603) 301-4857 to get started today!