PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) has determined that, according to its Mosquito-Borne Disease Risk Assessment Matrix, Rhode Island is at high risk for mosquito-borne illness. HEALTH is advising Rhode Islanders to take precautions to protect themselves from mosquito bites after test results from a mosquito trap in Tiverton recently tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and tests from two Rhode Island mosquito traps tested positive for West Nile Virus.
"It is not unusual to see positive results for EEE and West Nile Virus in mosquitoes in Rhode Island," said Michael Fine, MD, director of HEALTH. "But these positive results remind us that it is important to protect ourselves and our children from mosquito-borne illnesses like EEE and West Nile Virus, which can cause serious illness and even death."
All Rhode Islanders are encouraged to:
- Use bug spray with no more than 30 percent DEET. Do not use bug spray with DEET on infants - Minimize outdoor activities at sunrise and sundown. Mosquitoes are most active during these times - Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and bug spray if you must be outside at sunrise or sundown - Cover playpens and baby carriages with mosquito netting - Makes sure all windows and doors have screens. Be sure to fix any holes in screens - Eliminate standing water in your yard - Clear gutters to allow proper drainage - Remove water from unused swimming pools and boats, or cover them
Most people who are infected with West Nile Virus after a mosquito bite will not become ill. People who do develop symptoms may have a fever, headache, body aches or swollen lymph glands. Symptoms of severe infection of West Nile Virus or EEE include headache, stiff neck, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness or paralysis. The elderly, young children and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for serious illness.
For more information about protecting yourself from mosquito-borne disease, visit http://www.health.ri.gov/disease/carriers/mosquitoes/