PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) today announced that the remaining 172 mosquito samples from 37 traps set on Monday, July 25, 2016 have tested negative for both West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). Last week DEM reported that a sample of mosquitoes collected on July 25 in Pawtucket tested positive for WNV; this was the first finding of WNV in Rhode Island this year but not unexpected given WNV is well established in the state.
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. • 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, but with no more than 30 percent DEET. Do not use repellent on infants. To date, there have been no confirmed cases of EEE in Rhode Island. EEE has been confirmed in mosquitoes in Massachusetts. WNV has been detected in mosquitoes in Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Mosquitoes are trapped weekly by DEM and tested at the Rhode Island State Health Laboratories. DEM issues weekly advisories on test results from late June through September, with additional reports as necessary. Test results are pending for the 32 traps set on August 1 and will be included in next week's announcement. Typically positive mosquito test results will trigger additional trapping to assess risk.
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.