With last night's aerial application to eliminate mosquitoes in parts of Westerly, Charlestown, and Hopkinton, state officials confirm that spraying has been completed in all four areas of the state that have been assessed to be at critical risk for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). Officials also confirm that a second deer, found in Richmond, has tested positive for EEE.
PROVIDENCE – The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) today confirmed that with aerial mosquito treatments that were applied in parts of Westerly, Charlestown, and Hopkinton last night, the state has completed spraying in the four areas of Rhode Island that state officials have assessed to be at critical risk for the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus. In all, the state treated parts of 21 communities over three nights with a pesticide formulated to kill adult mosquitoes. The flight crew used the pesticide, called Anvil 10+10, at an extremely low concentration, dispersing a total of 556 gallons across 115,179 total acres – meaning that 6/10 of an ounce, aerosolized, was used to treat an acre. That's the equivalent of slightly less than four teaspoons per acre.
EEE is a rare but serious illness that spreads when people are bitten by infected mosquitoes. RIDOH announced September 9 that the individual who had contracted the state's first human case of EEE this year passed away on September 8. This was Rhode Island's first fatal human EEE case since 2007.
In the latest round of trapping, RIDOH's State Health Laboratories tested the remaining 69 pools, or samples, that DEM collected from 28 traps set September 3 and 5, finding all samples negative for both EEE and West Nile Virus (WNV). Today, DEM is confirming that EEE has been detected in a second deer, in Richmond, in addition to the first deer case of the disease that was announced yesterday. Statewide to date, EEE has been detected in five mosquito pools – two in Central Falls and three in Westerly – and WNV has been detected in Tiverton and Westerly. There are now two positive deer detections and on August 29, DEM also confirmed EEE in a horse in Westerly.
With deer season opening September 15, DEM is emailing around 1,200 hunters who have recently purchased 2019 deer licenses to offer personal precautionary information when field dressing animals. EEE is not considered to be a threat to the state's deer populations. Deer, like horses, cannot transmit EEE to humans. The transmission of EEE to deer reinforces that 2019 is a higher-than-average risk year for mosquito-borne disease.
In addition, several EEE cases and positive mosquitoes have been detected in Connecticut and Massachusetts, some in areas that border Rhode Island. Generally, spraying in Rhode Island occurred in four-mile radiuses around positive samples and cases. Results from additional pools collected September 9 are pending. RIDOH's State Health Laboratories is continuing to expedite mosquito testing. The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency continues to coordinate communications between state government and the state's 39 cities and towns.
"Smart scheduling" for communities
Previous mosquito prevention recommendations from RIDOH still are in effect. On Monday of last week, RIDOH recommended to schools and municipal leaders that games, practices, and other outdoor activities scheduled to occur during early morning or dusk hours be rescheduled to earlier in the afternoon or relocated to an indoor venue. The "smart scheduling" of events is intended to help minimize the risk of mosquito bites for players, coaches, and spectators. RIDOH recommends that smart scheduling stay in effect for the remainder of the mosquito season, which typically ends in mid-October (after the first hard frost).
In addition to following this smart scheduling recommendation, there are other measures that Rhode Islanders should take to protect themselves from mosquito bites, and to help minimize mosquito breeding.
o Put screens on windows and doors. Fix screens that are loose or have holes. o At sunrise and sundown (when mosquitoes that carry EEE and WNV 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. o 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. o If you plan to hike in the woods in daylight, it is advisable to wear repellent to prevent being bitten by daytime mosquitoes. o 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. o Put mosquito netting over playpens and baby carriages.
Get rid of mosquito breeding grounds
o 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. o Clean your gutters and downspouts so that they can drain properly. o 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. o 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. o Change the water in birdbaths at least two times a week and rinse out birdbaths once a week.
Best practices for horse owners
Horses are particularly susceptible to WNV and EEE. Horse owners are advised to vaccinate their animals early in the season and practice the following:
o Remove or cover areas where standing water can collect. o Avoid putting animals outside at dawn, dusk, or during the night when mosquitoes are most active. o Insect-proof facilities where possible and use approved repellents frequently. o 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.
State deer season opens September 15 – precautions for hunters
o Do not consume any harvested deer that appears unhealthy. Any harvested animal that is believed to be unhealthy should be reported to DEM's Division of Law Enforcement at 222-3070. o DEM recommends that hunters wear appropriate personal protective equipment when field dressing all game. At a minimum, this includes rubber or nitrile gloves and clothing that covers any part of the body that could be exposed to blood or other fluids.
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.
Visit http://www.health.ri.gov/mosquito for additional mosquito prevention tips, videos, and local data.