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RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade St., Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462
DEM RECEIVES CONFIRMATION OF WEST NILE VIRUS IN SIX AMERICAN CROWS IN FOUR COMMUNITIES
Ground Spraying Not Recommended At This Time Due to Cool Weather, Less Biting Activity; Personal Protection Remains Primary Prevention Measure
PROVIDENCE –The Department of Environmental Management today announced the finding of West Nile Virus in six American crows collected in four communities – Charlestown, North Kingstown, Portsmouth and Westerly between September 17 and September 20. The birds were tested at the University of Rhode Island’s Mosquito Virus Testing Laboratory. Confirmatory test results for all six were received by DEM Monday evening.
The locations and collection dates are: Riidam Way in Charlestown on September 17, Cobleigh Street in Charlestown on September 18, Lisa Terrace in Portsmouth on September 19, Laurel Ridge in North Kingstown on September 19, Mesa Drive in North Kingstown on September 20, and Sesame Street in Westerly on September 20.
Spraying Not Recommended at This Time
DEM expects that birds infected with the disease will continue to be found for the next few weeks. However, because of the cooler nights and shorter days, new mosquito production has essentially stopped. The total mosquito population declines daily as older mosquitoes die, and the biting activity of those that remain becomes less frequent and of shorter duration as seasonal temperatures continue to decrease. All of these factors add up to a significant reduction in the human health risk for West Nile Virus.
DEM and the Department of Health do not recommend the spraying of contact adulticides such as Sumithrin when evening temperatures drop much below 60 degrees, and under no circumstances when below 55 degrees; at such low temperatures mosquitoes are not active. The long-range forecast calls for temperatures in the mid-40s to mid-50s tomorrow night, with colder temperatures as the week progresses.
Personal Protection Remains Key
However, Rhode Islanders should continue to take personal protection steps to avoid mosquito bites, such as covering up at dusk and dawn when remaining mosquitoes are most likely to bite, and wearing mosquito repellent when venturing into areas of higher mosquito activity, such as hiking in the woods in warmer weather. Personal protection is still 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, 139 birds have tested negative for either disease, 14 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 www.health.state.ri.us and/or www.dem.state.ri.us.
Note to editors: For information specific to health, contact Robert Marshall, Jr., Ph.D. at the Department of Health, 222-2231, pager 544-4359.