PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) today announced that 121 mosquito samples from 26 traps set on Monday, July 29, have tested negative for both West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).
To date, in Rhode Island, there have been no findings of EEE or WNV in mosquito samples. Three findings of WNV and one finding of EEE have been reported this year, to date, in Connecticut. Isolations of both WNV and EEE are increasing in Massachusetts, and human risk of EEE continues to rise in southeastern Massachusetts, where aerial spraying is being conducted this week. Mosquito-borne virus isolations are increasing in the southern New England region, and are more prevalent during late summer and early fall. WNV isolations are also being detected in New York City.
DEM continues to trap mosquitoes in areas near the MA and CT borders and monitor for presence of EEE/WNV in RI. With findings of EEE on either side of RI, we should not be surprised if we have findings of the disease in RI. Personal protection is the first line of defense against mosquitoes that may carry WNV, EEE, or other diseases – and is the most effective way to avoid infection. With WNV and EEE established throughout the state, DEM and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) remind the public to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds and prevent being bitten, whenever possible. The precautions listed in the graphic above are advised.
Horses are particularly susceptible to WNV and EEE. Horse owners are advised to vaccinate their animals early in the season and practice the following:
• Remove or cover areas where standing water can collect.
• Avoid putting animals outside at dawn, dusk, or during the night when mosquitoes are most active.
• Insect-proof facilities where possible and use approved repellants frequently.
• Monitor animals for symptoms of fever and/or neurological signs (such as stumbling, moodiness, loss of appetite) and report all suspicious cases to a veterinarian immediately. If you are unsure if your horse is properly vaccinated, you should consult with your veterinarian.
Visit http://www.health.ri.gov/mosquito for additional mosquito prevention tips, videos, and local data. DEM and RIDOH also remind Rhode Islanders to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites when traveling to Zika-affected countries. Pregnant women and women who are considering becoming pregnant should not travel to countries with active transmission of Zika.
Mosquitoes are trapped weekly by DEM and tested at the RIDOH State Health Laboratories. DEM issues advisories on test results from late June through September, with additional reports as necessary. Test results are pending for traps set on August 5 and will be included in future announcements. Typically, positive test results trigger additional trapping to assess risk.
For more information about DEM divisions and programs, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates.