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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:

September 14, 2000

Media Contact:

Malcolm Grant 222-6605, cell phone 447-1351
Sally J. Spadaro 222-4700 ext. 2426, pager 482-4835
For information specific to health, contact Mary Jo Takash at the Department of Health, 222-5119, pager 544-4359.

DEM RECEIVES CONFIRMATION OF WEST NILE VIRUS IN NORTH KINGSTOWN AND NORTH SMITHFIELD BIRDS

State Recommends Limited Ground Spraying in Portions of Five Communities
Personal Protection Remains Primary Prevention Measure

DEM's West Nile Virus Bulletin

PROVIDENCE -The Department of Environmental Management this afternoon announced the finding of West Nile Virus in two American crows collected in North Smithfield and North Kingstown. The North Kingstown bird was collected on September 9 from Earle Drive in the Hamilton neighborhood, while the North Smithfield crow was collected on the tenth from a farm near the Woonsocket Reservoir in the southeastern corner of town. The birds were tested at the University of Rhode Island's Mosquito Virus Testing Laboratory. Confirmatory test results were received by DEM at 5:30 PM this evening.

The finding is not unexpected, since West Nile Virus has already been identified this year in Rhode Island and in neighboring states. It is a reminder that all Rhode Islanders should continue to take personal protection steps to avoid mosquito bites, and to prevent mosquito breeding grounds around their homes. Personal protection is the first line of defense against mosquitoes that can carry diseases such as Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus and is by far the most effective way of avoiding infection.

In light of the finding, and in accordance with the state's West Nile Virus Action Plan, public education emphasizing personal protection will be intensified, DEM will adjust its mosquito surveillance locations by adding additional traps in the affected areas, and has recommended ground spraying of populated areas within a two-mile radius of where the crows were found. In the case of the North Smithfield bird, the treatment area includes portions of Lincoln, including the villages of Mannville and Albion between Route 146 and the Blackstone River, the area north of Route 116 and the northeastern corner of Limerock in the vicinity of the Industrial Park; a small section of Cumberland in the Cumberland Hill section including the end of Farm Drive and also including Apache Lane, Secluded Court, Plantation Drive, and the connecting portion of Farm Drive; the northeastern corner of Smithfield including Lydia Ann Road, West Reservoir and Harris Roads north of George Washington Highway and Rocky Hill Road; and in North Smithfield, Reservoir Road, the portion of Rocky Hill Road from Cranberry Lane to the Smithfield line, Iron Mine Hill Road from Ironwoods Golf Practice Center to Route 146, Old Sayles Hill Road, Chamberlain Court, Woodland Road, Sayles Hill Road to the Lincoln Line, Old Smithfiled Road, St. Jude Street and Eddie Dowling Highway from the 146/146A interchange south to the Lincoln line. Spraying in North Kingstown will focus on the Wickford Village, Belleville, Allentown and Hamilton sections of town in the area north of 138 and east of Route 4.

Spraying will be done by trained municipal employees from the affected communities using truck-mounted ultra-low -volume sprayers provided by DEM. The spraying will take place at night, and is planned to begin at 6 PM on Sunday night in North Smithfield, Lincoln, Smithfield and Cumberland and 7 PM on Monday night in North Kingstown. Spraying can only take place if temperatures remain above 55 degrees, winds are below 10 miles per hour and no rain is expected. No spraying will occur near open water or field crops. The spraying will be preceded by a comprehensive public information effort, as time allows.

Residents seeking information on spraying planned for their communities should call the following numbers the day spraying is scheduled: North Smithfield 767-2206, Smithfield 233-1033, Lincoln 333-1100, Cumberland 723-7251, North Kingstown 294-3331, ext. 210.

The spraying will involve the use of the pesticide Sumithrin, which DEM is supplying to the communities. Sumithrin is a pyrethroid-based adulticide effective for controlling mosquitoes. The active ingredient in Sumithrin is a man-made pesticide, similar to natural groups of pesticides called pyrethrins, which come from plants such as the common chrysanthemum. These pesticides are also used in pet shampoos, flea sprays and household insect sprays.

Spraying is part of a comprehensive program of mosquito control and disease prevention.

When implemented, spraying is conducted in accordance with US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state protocol guidelines. Health risks associated with the use of Sumithrin in this manner are negligible. As with any pesticide, you want to reduce exposure.

The Department of Health recommends:

1.

Avoid direct exposure to pesticides.
Keep all family members and pets inside during spraying.
Stay inside at least 10 minutes after spraying - longer if you can.

2.

If exposed, wash yourself off.

3.

Consider taking additional steps to further reduce exposure during spraying.
Close windows, shut off air conditioners
Bring toys, clothes and small equipment inside
Cover outdoor tables and big equipment
Close car windows, and turn air to re-circulate mode
Wash any exposed fruits and vegetables, such as those from your garden, before storing, cooking or eating.

Anyone experiencing adverse reactions to pesticides should call their doctor or the Regional Center for Poison Control at 1-800-682-9211. Persons with asthma or other respiratory problems should stay indoors during spraying.

Toll-free information about ground spraying and protection from mosquitoes is also available during normal weekday business hours by calling HEALTH's Family Health Information Line: 1-800-942-7434 or DEM 's Mosquito Information Line: 1-866-634-7500. DEM's Mosquito Information Line will be open Sunday and Monday evening because of today's finding.

Under the state's mosquito action plan, testing birds and mosquitoes for signs of the disease has been ongoing since late May. No mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile Virus or Eastern Equine Encephalitis. To date, 122 birds have tested negative for either disease, 5 previously tested positive for West NileVirus, and one previously tested positive for EEE. In addition, the presence of West Nile Virus was previously reported in a horse, which was euthanized. Mosquito bites are the only means by which either disease can be transmitted to humans.


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