PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) recommends that school administrators and town officials throughout the state employ "smart scheduling" of all outdoor activities, including games and practices for all sports, in response to the threat of mosquito-borne illness. HEALTH advises that any games and practices scheduled to occur during early morning or dusk hours be rescheduled to earlier in the afternoon (or relocated to an indoor venue), if possible, to help minimize the risk of mosquito bites for players, coaches and spectators.
"Rhode Island recently saw its first human case of West Nile Fever and has seen some increase in the number of mosquito pools positive for both West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis," said Michael Fine, MD, director of HEALTH. "Smart scheduling of outdoor activities and personal protection measures are the best ways for Rhode Islanders to protect themselves from mosquito-borne illness."
At a minimum, HEALTH recommends that schools and organizations remind all participants in outdoor activities to protect themselves from mosquito bites with some simple personal protection actions, including:
Avoid outdoor activities during dawn and dusk. Mosquitoes are most active at this time If you must be outside at dawn or dusk, wear an insect repellant with no more than 30 percent DEET Wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants when possible to avoid exposing skin to mosquitoes
HEALTH will continue to update school and municipal officials as conditions change. HEALTH recommends that smart scheduling stays in effect for the remainder of the mosquito season, which typically ends mid-October (after the first hard frost).
Visit http://www.health.ri.gov/disease/carriers/mosquitoes/ for additional information about mosquito bite protection.