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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 25, 2000

Media Contact:

Malcolm Grant 222-6605, cell phone 447-1351
Stephanie Powell 222-4700 ext. 4418, pager 482-2968


Ground Spraying Not Recommended; Personal Protection Remains Primary Prevention Measure
DEM's WNV/EEE Web Page

PROVIDENCE –The Department of Environmental Management this morning announced the finding of West Nile Virus in a blue jay collected in Westerly on September 14. It was tested at the University of Rhode Island’s Mosquito Virus Testing Laboratory, and confirmatory test results were received by DEM Sunday morning. The blue jay was collected from George Street in Westerly on September 14. Ground spraying took place on September 20 in that neighborhood, after the bird was collected, so will not be repeated.

Personal Protection Remains Key

As seasonal temperatures continue to decrease with the onset of fall weather, mosquito biting activity will become less frequent and of shorter duration; cooler weather will also cause a reduction in the total number of mosquitoes available to bite humans over the next several weeks.

In the meantime, and as always, it is important that all Rhode Islanders 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.

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, 130 birds have tested negative for either disease, 13 previously tested positive for West Nile Virus, and three previously tested positive for EEE. In addition, the presence of West Nile Virus was previously reported in a horse, which was euthanized.

Toll-free information about protection from mosquitoes is 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. It is also available online at and/or

For General Information 222-6800 • After Hours Emergencies 222-3070 • Disclaimer