PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) today announced 50 mosquito samples from 24 traps set on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 and Wednesday, September 21, 2016 have tested negative for both West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).
Personal protection is the first line of defense against mosquitoes that may carry WNV, EEE, or other diseases – and the most effective way to avoid infection. Throughout the summer season, the public is encouraged to:
• Eliminate mosquito breeding grounds from yards by removing anything that holds standing water, such as old tires, buckets, junk and debris. Just one cup of standing water can produce hundreds of mosquitoes. Car and truck tires are especially of concern, as mosquito larvae are often found in tire piles. Be sure to continually empty any water accumulating in tires around your property. • Clean gutters so they drain correctly. • Make sure swimming pools are treated with chlorine, pumps are running properly, and any water that collects on pool covers is removed. • Avoid mosquito bites by using screens on windows and doors, covering up at dawn and dusk, and putting mosquito netting over playpens and baby carriages when they are outside. Use mosquito repellent with at least 20 percent DEET but no more than 30 percent. Do not use repellent on infants.
To date, there has been one confirmed local finding of WNV in a mosquito sample and one confirmed finding of EEE in a mosquito sample in Rhode Island; there has also been one confirmed human case of WNV in Rhode Island. WNV and EEE have also been detected in mosquito samples trapped in Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Mosquitoes are trapped weekly by DEM and tested at the State Health Laboratories at the Rhode Island Department of Health. DEM issues weekly advisories on test results from late June through September, with additional reports as necessary. Test results are pending for the 20 traps set on September 26 and September 27 and will be included in next week's announcement. Typically positive mosquito test results will trigger additional trapping to assess risk. As temperatures cool, mosquito populations will die out and testing will be suspended.
Visit www.health.ri.gov for additional mosquito prevention tips and for local data. For more information about DEM divisions and programs, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow us on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) and/or Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM for timely updates.