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HEALTH Reports First Human Case of West Nile Virus Infection

The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) reports that a man in his 50s from Newport County was diagnosed with West Nile fever, a mild form of West Nile Virus (WNV). The Massachusetts Department of Public Health confirmed the diagnosis. The man first developed symptoms on August 25 and WNV infection was confirmed on August 28. He has since recovered.

"This is yet another reminder that this is the time of year when there are more mosquitoes and Rhode Islanders are at increased risk for exposure to mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile Virus," said Director of Health Michael Fine, MD. "It is imperative that anyone who spends a lot of time outside to use safeguards against mosquitoes."

Personal protection is the first line of defense against mosquitoes that can carry diseases such as WNV and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and is by far the most effective way of avoiding infection. People should routinely use mosquito repellent and cover up or avoid outdoor activity at dusk and dawn when mosquito-biting activity is greatest. Place mosquito netting over playpens and carriages outside, and be sure that screens are in good repair. Mosquito repellent should contain no more than 30 percent DEET, and it should not be used on infants. It is also important to make sure there is no standing water in yards or in other public gathering places.

To date this year, there have been three mosquito pools in Rhode Island that have tested positive for WNV and three that have tested positive for EEE. For information about mosquito-borne diseases, visit

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