Officials Alert To The Outbreak Of WNV

  A mosquito carrying the West Nile virus has been found in Amesbury, the state Department of Public Health announced yesterday.

   The finding comes days after another mosquito tested positive Sept. 2 for Eastern equine encephalitis. Both are potentially fatal, though the vast majority of cases are not fatal.

    State officials urged residents to take precautions to protect themselves from mosquito-borne illnesses. These include: being aware of peak hours for mosquitoes — from dusk to dawn; wearing long sleeves and long pants when outside; applying insect repellent with DEET and draining standing water in a yard while changing birdbath water frequently, and installing screens.

   West Nile Virus (WNV) has three different effects on humans. The first is an asymptomatic infection; the second is a mild febrile syndrome termed West Nile Fever; the third is a neuroinvasive disease termed West Nile meningitis or encephalitis. In many infected individuals the ratio between the three states is roughly 110:30:1.

    In recent weeks, the town of Merrimac also had three mosquito samples test positive for EEE.

   Both West Nile Virus and Eastern equine encephalomyelitis virus (EEE), commonly called sleeping sickness or "Triple E",  are spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito.

      According to state officials, there have only been 10 human cases of West Nile virus in the state during the last five years. People over age 50 are at a higher risk for severe diseases. The state also reports that there was one human case of EEE during 2008 and there were 13 cases leading to six deaths from 2004 through 2006, according to The Daily News' report.