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News Release

RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade St., Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462

For Release:

June 9, 2000

Media Contact:

Gail Mastrati 222-4700 ext. 2402
Al Gettman, 258-1767 Cell
Steve Morin, 323-6654 Cell/Pager


New York State Health Department Confirms West Nile Virus in Pair of Rockland County Crows

PROVIDENCE - The results from the first round of testing mosquitoes for West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) are negative and indicate that neither virus is present in Rhode Island, according to the Department of Environmental Management.

The results, received today, come from mosquitoes trapped May 30 and separated into 40 groups, or pools, for testing. Results from an additional 40 pools trapped June 5 should be available late next week. DEM began its weekly mosquito trapping and testing program on May 30.

While there is no indication of WNV or EEE in Rhode Island, the New York State Health Department has confirmed today that two crows in Rockland County were found to be infected with West Nile virus. Rockland County is located 25 miles north of New York City. A copy of the New York State Health Department's news release is attached.

DEM and the Rhode Island Department of Health have developed a statewide action plan to deal with the possibility that mosquitoes carrying WNV could become present in Rhode Island this year. The main carrier of WNV in New York last summer was the common house mosquito. Rhode Island's WNV action plan stresses preventative measures that include elimination of mosquito breeding areas and early application of larvicide, surveillance, and educating the public about steps they can take to reduce mosquito populations around their homes and yards and ways to avoid mosquito bites. The plan builds on the state's continuing efforts to address EEE, another mosquito-borne disease.

Steps Rhode Islanders can take to reduce mosquito populations around their homes and yard include clearing yards of things that collect standing water, such as buckets, old tires, junk, and debris; changing birdbath water frequently; keeping gutters clean so rainwater can freely drain; and eliminating water that collects in boats and unused swimming pools.

New York City Press Release

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