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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 28, 2000

Contact:

Malcolm Grant 222-6605
Stephanie Powell 222-4700 ext. 4418

DEM'S WEEKLY MOSQUITO TESTING CONTINUES TO SHOW NO PRESENCE OF WEST NILE VIRUS OR EEE

DEM's West Nile Virus/EEE Web Page

PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management has announced that test results on 78 pools of mosquitoes collected from 39 traps set statewide on September18 are all negative for West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Results were received Wednesday afternoon from the University of Rhode Island. Two mosquito pools – one from Charlestown and one from South Kingstown showed the presence of Highlands J virus. Highlands J virus, while not affecting humans, is an indication that Eastern Equine Encephalitis may also be present in area birds.

In addition, 178 birds have been tested for West Nile Virus and EEE since DEM's bird surveillance program began in late May, and results for another 28 are pending. One hundred fifty-five of those birds have tested negative for either disease, 20 were previously reported as positive for West Nile Virus and three were previously reported as positive for EEE. Also previously reported was the presence of West Nile Virus in one horse, which was euthanized.

Results are pending for 54 pools of mosquitoes from 27 traps set on September 15, and should be available next Thursday.

DEM expects that birds infected with West Nile Virus 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.

In the meantime, and as always, it is important that all Rhode Islanders 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 the first line of defense against mosquitoes that can carry diseases such as West Nile Virus and EEE.

For toll-free information on protection measures, call DEM’s Mosquito Information Line at 1-866-634-7500 or HEALTH’s Family Health Information Line at 1-800-942-7474, or visit www.health.state.ri.us and/or www.dem.state.ri.us on line.


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