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UMaine Experts Available to Discuss Insect-Borne Viruses

University of Maine Cooperative Extension pest management and animal care experts are available for interviews and to discuss ways to protect humans and animals against mosquito- and tick-borne viruses as more mosquitoes in neighboring New Hampshire have tested positive as carriers for West Nile Virus (WNV) this summer.

Two weeks ago, the Maine Center for Disease Control issued an advisory to health care professionals about an increase this year of WNV and last week issued an advisory about anaplasmosis, a bacterial infection transmitted by the same type of ticks that carry Lyme disease.

UMaine Extension pest management specialist Jim Dill is available at (207) 581-3879 to discuss how to reduce the proliferation of mosquitoes and other nuisance insects and how area residents can be alert for mosquitoes that may carry West Nile Virus or Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), which can be fatal for humans and animals, and horses in particular.

Veterinarian Anne Lichtenwalner of UMaine Extension can be reached at (207) 581-2789 to discuss ways to protect horses and other animals from mosquitoes and ticks. Maine so far has not been affected by WNV, but the state has had a history of EEE reports. These viruses often cause only flu-like symptoms in humans, but can sometimes prove fatal. This year, human deaths from WNV have been reported in Italy, and several California horses have died as a result of contracting the disease.

New Hampshire health officials last week reported 18 pools of mosquitoes in the Manchester area tested positive for West Nile Virus. Similar monitoring has yet to reveal positives in Maine. However, prevention of disease by avoiding mosquito bites and vaccinating animals against mosquito-borne disease is advised, says Lichtenwalner.

UMaine Extension videos featuring Dill and Lichtenwalner discuss precautions, and the UMaine Extension website has an online pest management fact sheet by specialist Griffin Dill.

Contact: Jim Dill, (207) 581-3879; Anne Lichtenwalner, (207) 581-2789; George Manlove, (207) 581-3756

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