PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management announces that test results from the remaining 131 mosquito pools, or samples, from 37 traps set statewide on September 8 are confirmed negative for both West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Results from 117 mosquito pools collected from 37 traps set on September 14 are pending at the Rhode Island State Health Laboratories.
Last week DEM reported that a sample of mosquitoes collected in southern Tiverton tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV), and that a mosquito pool trapped in the northern part of Tiverton was confirmed positive for Highlands J Virus. Mosquito-borne diseases are more prevalent in late summer and early fall, and risk typically lasts until the first frost. To date, there have been two isolations of WNV in mosquito samples trapped in Rhode Island, and no reports of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in Rhode Island or in the neighboring states of Massachusetts or Connecticut so far this season.
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 Rhode Island State Health Laboratories. DEM will normally report mosquito test results once a week on a routine basis from late June through September, 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.
Visit HEALTH's website for additional prevention tips and for Rhode Island-specific data.