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Mosquito Pools Test Positive for EEE and West Nile Virus

The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) advise all Rhode Islanders that a pool of mosquitoes from a mosquito-trapping site in Westerly has tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). In addition, a mosquito pool in South Kingstown and a mosquito pool in Pawtucket each tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV). This is the second mosquito pool this summer to test positive for EEE, and the first mosquito pools this summer to test positive for WNV.

“At this time of the year, we expect to see both EEE and WNV in mosquitoes,” said Director of Health David R. Gifford, MD, MPH. “Until the first heavy frost in the fall, all Rhode Islanders should be taking the proper precautions to avoid mosquito bites and should be removing standing water from their yards. It is likely that we will see more communities test positive as mosquitoes spread across the state.”

“It is not surprising to isolate EEE from mosquitoes for the second week in Chapman Swamp,” said DEM mosquito abatement coordinator Al Gettman, PhD. “In addition, the West Nile virus findings are in keeping with our neighboring states’ surveillance information.”

Recommendations for Communities with EEE · Due to the findings of EEE, municipal and school officials in the town of Westerly should continue to utilize “smart scheduling” and should reschedule or relocate any outdoor activity originally planned for dawn, dusk, or evening.

Recommendations for Communities with WNV · Municipal and school officials in the Town of South Kingstown and the City of Pawtucket should continue to encourage personal protection measures (use bug spray, wear long pants and long sleeves) and should eliminate any standing water from municipal or school property.

Protect yourself: · Use bug spray with DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide). Make sure that bug spray does not have more than 30% DEET. Do not use bug spray with DEET on infants. -more- · At sunrise and sundown (when mosquitoes are most active), minimize outside activities. If you are outside, HEALTH strongly recommends wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants and using bug spray. · Put mosquito netting over playpens and baby carriages. · Put screens on windows and doors. Fix screens that have holes.

Get rid of mosquito breeding grounds: · Get rid of anything around your house and yard that collects water. One cup of water can produce thousands of mosquitoes! · Change the water in birdbaths at least two times a week. · Clean your gutters so that they can drain properly. · Remove any water from unused swimming pools or boats and cover them. · Help your neighbors, friends, and family do the same things.

The Newport-County man who has been hospitalized with EEE since August 10 is improving and is in stable condition. Symptoms of EEE or WNV may include fever, headache and body aches or swollen lymph glands. Symptoms of severe infection include headache, high fever, stiff neck, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, or paralysis. Everyone is at high risk for serious illness from EEE, and the case fatality rate for EEE is 33%. For WNV, 80% of people who are infected do not have any symptoms; however, the elderly, young children and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for serious illness from WNV. For more information, call your healthcare provider, visit HEALTH’s website at, call 222-5960/RI Relay 711, or visit DEM’s website at and click on Public Health Updates.

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