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RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade St., Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462
EEE FOUND IN BIRD-BITING MOSQUITO; NO DIRECT THREAT TO HUMAN HEALTH
PROVIDENCE – The Department of Environmental Management announced today that Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) has been identified in a bird-biting mosquito trapped at Iron Mine Hill Road in North Smithfield on September 25. The positive test result came from one Culiseta mosquito, a species that does not feed on humans or other mammals and therefore represents no direct threat to human health. This is the first positive finding of EEE in a mosquito this season, although it has been found in several birds. The result was reported to DEM by the University of Rhode Island Virus Testing Laboratory late Saturday afternoon.
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. In fact, a total of only two mosquitoes were caught in the North Smithfield trap.
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.
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.