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RI Department of Environmental Management
DEM, HEALTH TO MEET WITH MUNICIPAL OFFICIALS THURSDAY TO REVIEW STATE'S OPERATIONS PLAN FOR WEST NILE VIRUS
PROVIDENCE - The Departments of Environmental Management and Health have invited chief municipal officials, and their public works and public safety officers, to a meeting on Thursday, August 3 to review the operations plan that will go into effect should West Nile Virus be found in Rhode Island. The meeting will be held at 2 p.m. at the Department of Health Auditorium at 3 Capitol Hill in Providence.
The plan is very similar to the state's operations plan for dealing with Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in the recommendations involve focused ground spraying by qualified municipal employees, with adulticide and equipment provided by the state. Under the plan, localized aerial spraying would only be considered if the West Nile Virus failed to respond to ground spraying and began to spread; or if ground spraying were to become impractical or ineffective because of high concentrations of the virus over wide areas.
DEM Director Jan Reitsma said, "It is important that we jointly review our roles and responsibilities so that together we can ensure a smooth operation should focused ground spraying be implemented.
"Fortunately," Reitsma added, "We are ahead in Rhode Island, primarily because of the interest and support local officials have shown in attending previous briefings, sending their staff for pesticide application training, and treating catch basins with larvicide in their communities.
We are looking forward to continuing to work with local officials to minimize any threat from West Nile Virus or EEE that Rhode Island may face."
"State, community and citizen efforts go hand in hand," said Dr. Patricia A. Nolan, Director of the Department of Health. "Even while we must plan for other responses, current efforts such as the municipal larvicide program, removing standing water from yards, repairing window and door screens, and using insect repellent are key to ensuring a safe and healthy summer for every Rhode Islander."