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DEM: September 15 West Nile/EEE Status Update

PROVIDENCE – The Department of Environmental Management announces that test results from the remaining 97 mosquito pools, or samples, from 34 traps set statewide during the week of September 2 are negative for both West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. The testing results were confirmed by the RI Department of Health (HEALTH) laboratory. Results from 74 pools collected from 32 traps set September 8 are pending at the HEALTH Laboratory.

DEM and HEALTH announced last week that both West Nile Virus (WNV) and Highlands J Virus were confirmed in samples of mosquitoes collected on September 2 in Rhode Island. Test results from one mosquito pool, or sample, from a trap set in West Kingston was confirmed positive for WNV, and one mosquito pool from a trap set in northern Tiverton was confirmed positive for Highlands J Virus. Highlands J Virus is a bird disease that doesn't affect humans, but which is an indicator that environmental conditions are appropriate for the transmission of other mosquito-borne viruses.

To date, there have been two isolations of WNV in Rhode Island. EEE has not been found this season in Rhode Island. However, both diseases are currently present in our area. WNV and EEE have recently been found in mosquito samples in Massachusetts, and WNV has been isolated from mosquitoes trapped in Connecticut.

Throughout the mosquito season, residents are encouraged to protect themselves by eliminating mosquito breeding grounds and avoiding mosquito bites. Personal protection is the first line of defense against mosquitoes that can carry diseases such as West Nile Virus and EEE and is by far the most effective way of avoiding infection.

Eliminate mosquito breeding grounds from yards by removing anything that holds standing water, such as old tires, buckets, junk and debris, clean gutters so that they drain correctly, and maintain swimming pools properly. Mosquitoes breed in standing water. Just one cup of standing water can produce hundreds of mosquitoes. 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. Also, use mosquito repellent, but with no more than 30 percent DEET. Do not use repellent on infants.

Mosquitoes are trapped every week statewide by DEM staff and tested at the HEALTH Laboratory. DEM will normally report mosquito test results once a week on a routine basis, with additional reports as necessary. Test results from mosquitoes trapped this week will be included in next week's announcement. Positive mosquito test results will generally trigger additional trapping to assess risk.

For online information about mosquito-borne diseases, go to DEM's website, www., and click on "Public Health Updates," or go to the HEALTH website,, and click on "E" (Eastern Equine Encephalitis) or "W" (West Nile Virus) under "Health Topics."

Related links

  • Department or agency: Department of Environmental Management
  • Online:
  • Release date: 09-15-2014

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