Massachusetts today announced its third human case of EEE and two additional horse cases of EEE in Worcester County. MA has scheduled aerial spraying to start on August 25. DEM and RIDOH are advising all Rhode Island communities to take precautions.
PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) today announced that 95 mosquito samples from 28 traps set on Wednesday, August 14, have tested negative for both West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).
To date, in Rhode Island, there has been one finding of EEE and no findings of WNV in mosquito samples. The 330 positive EEE mosquito pools in Massachusetts, coupled with multiple findings of both EEE and WNV in mosquitoes from eastern Connecticut, however, clearly indicate this remains a higher-than-average risk summer for mosquito-borne diseases in southeastern New England.
Massachusetts today announced its third human case of EEE. Also, two horses, one from Mendon and another from Uxbridge have tested positive for EEE. In response, the MA Department of Public Health and the Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) announced aerial spraying in specific areas of Worcester and Middlesex counties scheduled to begin Sunday, August 25, weather permitting, continuing for several evenings. Nearby Douglas, Uxbridge, Millville, Blackstone, and Mendon are among the Worcester County towns that are either partly or fully in the spray zone, MDAR said. DEM and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) are advising residents and officials in Burrillville, North Smithfield, and Woonsocket that they may see low-flying airplanes in the coming days in adjoining MA towns. Central Mass Mosquito Control has issued a new spraying map for Worcester County, showing the spraying zone along the RI border.
DEM and RIDOH are highlighting the need to take precautions, saying people have the most important role to play in protecting themselves and their loved ones from being bitten by mosquitoes. Using repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants, and minimizing outdoor time from dusk to dawn – peak biting times for many mosquitoes – all are excellent precautions.
There are measures that all Rhode Islanders should take to protect themselves from mosquito bites, and to help minimize mosquito breeding.
• Put screens on windows and doors. Fix screens that are loose or have holes. • At sunrise and sundown (when mosquitoes that carry EEE are most active), consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning. If you must be outside, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants and use bug spray. • Use EPA-approved bug spray with one of the following active ingredients: DEET (20-30% strength); picaridin, IR3535; and oil of lemon eucalyptus or paramenthane. Always read the label and follow all directions and precautions. • Do not use bug spray with DEET on infants under two months of age. Children should be careful not to rub their eyes after bug spray has been applied on their skin. Wash children's hands with soap and water to remove any bug spray when they return indoors. • Put mosquito netting over playpens and baby carriages.
Get rid of mosquito breeding grounds
• Get rid of anything around your house and yard that collects water. Just one cup of water can produce hundreds of mosquitoes; an unused tire containing water can produce thousands of mosquitoes. • Clean your gutters and down spouts so that they can drain properly. • Remove any water from unused swimming pools, wading pools, boats, planters, trash and recycling bins, tires, and anything else that collects water, and cover them. • Remove or treat any shallow water that can accumulate on top of a pool cover. Larvicide treatments, such as Mosquito Dunks can be applied to kill immature mosquitoes. This environmentally-friendly product is available at many hardware and garden stores and on-line. • Change the water in birdbaths at least two times a week and rinse out birdbaths once a week.
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. 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.