PROVIDENCE - The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) today announced the first batch of mosquitoes trapped and tested this season for West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) are negative.
In order to monitor disease in Rhode Island, DEM traps mosquitoes weekly, beginning in June, for testing by the Rhode Island Department of Health (DOH). Test results are issued weekly - with special advisories as needed. The first trapping, conducted on June 6, included 16 traps and 66 mosquito pools. Test results are pending for the 27 traps set on June 13.
With WNV and EEE established throughout the state, the public is reminded to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds and avoid bites, where possible. Last year, WNV was detected in four mosquito samples from traps in North Kingstown, Tiverton, Cranston and South Kingstown; however, there were no human cases reported. EEE was not detected in Rhode Island last year. The following precautions are advised:
• Remove anything around your house and yard that collects water; just one cup of water can produce hundreds of mosquitoes. • Clean gutters and downspouts to ensure proper drainage, and repair holes in window screens. • Remove any water from unused swimming pools, wading pools, boats, planters, trash and recycling bins, tires, and anything else that collects water, and cover them. • Change the water in birdbaths at least two times a week, and rinse out birdbaths once a week. • Use EPA-approved bug spray with one of the following active ingredients: DEET (20-30% strength), picaridin, IR3535, and oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthan-diol. • Minimize outdoor activity at dawn and at dusk when mosquitoes are most active. • Put insect netting over strollers and playpens.
Personal protection and larviciding are cornerstones of the state's action plan for WNV and EEE and considered effective strategies to reduce mosquito populations and related disease risk. In partnership with DOH, DEM distributed mosquito larvicide to local communities earlier this month to treat area catch basins. Catch basins are prime breeding grounds for mosquitoes in both urban and suburban settings.
Horses are particularly susceptible to WNV and EEE. Horse owners are advised to vaccinate their animals early in the season and practice the following: • Remove or cover areas where standing water can collect. • Avoid putting animals outside at dawn, dusk or during the night when mosquitoes are most active. • Insect proof facilities where possible and use approved repellants frequently. • Monitor animals for symptoms of fever and/or neurological signs (such as stumbling, depression, loss of appetite) and report all suspicious cases to a veterinarian immediately. If you are unsure if your horse is properly vaccinated you should consult with your veterinarian.
For more tips, visit www.health.ri.gov. For more information about DEM divisions and programs, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates.