The summer may be coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean mosquitoes are gone for the season.
According to Keene’s mosquito control program provider, Municipal Pest Management Services, one mosquito pool in Keene and two in Brattleboro tested positive for West Nile virus. According to the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) website, West Nile is a virus that can be spread via mosquito bite. The mosquitoes originally contract the virus by biting infected birds, and then spread to other humans and animals.
According to the CDC’s website, only eight out of ten people who contract the virus show symptoms. About one in five people develop a flu-like illness, while one in 150 people can develop a serious, fatal illness that affects the central nervous system.
Chief Medical Officer at the Center for Health and Wellness and nurse practitioner, Kristin Eineberg, provided symptoms for students to look out for.
“Symptoms tend to include fever, headache, sometimes muscle and joint pain, some nausea, perhaps vomiting and sometimes a rash… and less than one percent of people who are bitten by a mosquito with West Nile virus will come down with severe neurological symptoms,” Eineberg said.
To avoid getting infected, Eineberg suggests wearing long sleeve clothing and using bug repellent with the highest deet (an ingredient in most bug sprays that makes them more effective) content available. Eineberg also said to be aware of stagnant water around you, like in bird baths, children’s toy, wheelbarrows, etc. because mosquitoes lay their eggs in them, which is what results in large populations of mosquitoes in one’s area.
“The mosquitoes that have been infected tend to be most active between dusk and dawn, so try to be mindful of doing your activities more during the day,” Eineberg said.
The reason for the uptick in the prevalence of this virus in New England, according to Eineberg, is most likely due to the heavy rainfall in July, as the rain allows for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. As for student awareness about this issue in the Keene community, KSC student Pan Norkiewicz, said, “I had no idea, I haven’t heard about it…You would think something like WMUR, which covers all of New Hampshire, would have said something like ‘West Nile’ in Keene.”
KSC senior Vivian Valengavich also said that it would have been appreciated if students were made aware of the virus in the area, especially for students like them living near Brickyard Pond, where there tends to be a large amount of insects. Despite this, Eineberg said, “We have had students call and ask about West Nile. We’ve had some panicking saying that they were bitten by a mosquito and if should they be screened.” To this, Eineberg said that people who are not symptomatic should not bother being screened. “There’s no point in screening for West Nile if you don’t have any symptoms. It’s not cost effective and it doesn’t really do anything.”
For additional information, Eineberg suggests that students reference the CDC website.
Swamp Inc. and Jake Leon from the NH Department of Health and Human Services did not respond for comment.
Rachel Vitello can be contacted at