N.H. Prepares for Another Year of Mosquitoes, EEE

New Hampshire is thawing out--and with the spring melt comes renewed worries over the return of mosquitoes and Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE).

Towns in southeastern New Hampshire plan to begin their mosquito control programs in just a few weeks.

State health spokesman Greg Moore said a mild and rainy winter actually could lead to greater mosquito populations this year.

"It's impossible to predict how prevalent EEE will be," Moore said. "But we believe there is an ongoing danger of EEE in the southeastern New Hampshire area."

The state believes the public health danger is so great that a health declaration put in place in Rockingham County last summer is still in effect. The declaration allows communities to recoup a quarter of the amount of their mosquito control programs, which cost about $40,000 to $50,000.

Eastern equine encephalitis killed two people in 2005. There were no fatalities reported in 2006, but hundreds of dead birds and mosquito pools tested positive for the disease.

Town officials say they will remain vigilant in 2007.

"That threat has not been lifted," said Kerran Vigroux, Derry's public health officer. "There is no reason that they think this year will be any different."

Brian Locard, public health officer in Salem, said he's hoping for a good year but nothing is certain.

"Are we near the end of the cycle? Or has that changed? Or are we stuck with EEE every season?" he said. "It'll be interesting to see what happens in the next year or two."

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The Associated Press

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