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MOSQUITOES, BIRDS, TESTED IN RHODE ISLAND SHOW NO SIGNS OF WEST NILE VIRUS
Crow in Boston Tests Positive for WNV
PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management has announced that test results from all 60 pools of mosquitoes recovered from 28 traps on July 17 are negative. The mosquitoes were tested at the University of Rhode Island for West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, and Highland J virus. In addition, 10 birds have been tested for West Nile Virus since mid-May. No birds in Rhode Island have tested positive for the virus.
Weekly mosquito trapping began on May 30 and will continue until the first hard frost in the fall. Test results from mosquitoes collected from traps on July 24 are pending.
While there is no indication of West Nile Virus or EEE in Rhode Island, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health today announced that West Nile Virus has been confirmed in a dead crow found July 22 in the Jamaica Plain area of Boston.
"The presence of West Nile Virus, first in New York and Connecticut, and now in Massachusetts, underscores the need to be prepared, and we are," said Jan Reitsma, DEM Director. "We don't know whether or not the virus will be found here, but we do know that there are things we can do and that the public can do to minimize that possibility."
DEM and the Rhode Island Department of Health have developed a statewide action plan to address the concerns associated with the virus.
The main carrier of West Nile Virus is the common house mosquito. Rhode Island's West Nile Virus action plan stresses preventive 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 bites include: repairing and using screens on windows and doors, covering up when outdoors at dawn and dusk, limiting children's outdoor play at sundown when mosquito activity is at its peak, using protective netting over playpens and carriages, and using insect repellents containing not more than 30 percent DEET. Do not use repellents containing DEET on infants, and avoid getting repellent in children's eyes.
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.
For questions about West Nile Virus and health issues, please call the Department of Health's Family Health information line at 1-800-942-7434. The mosquito abatement program has information on a website: www.uri.edu/research/eee There is also a DEM webpage with rabies contacts information. Information on West Nile Virus is also available on the HEALTH website at http://www.healthri.org/disease/communicable/wnv/home.htm.