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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:

October 5, 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
DEM's West Nile Virus/EEE Web Page

PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management has announced that test results on 53 pools of mosquitoes collected from 27 traps set statewide on September 25 are all negative for West Nile Virus. Results were received Wednesday afternoon from the University of Rhode Island. A bird-biting mosquito from another trap, in North Smithfield, was reported earlier in the week as positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

In addition, 215 birds have been tested for West Nile Virus and EEE since DEM's bird surveillance program began in late May, and results for another 32 are pending. One hundred seventy-seven of those birds have tested negative for either disease, 34 were previously reported as positive for West Nile Virus and four 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 60 pools of mosquitoes from 38 traps set during the period of September 27 through October 3, 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.

However, there will be some mosquito activity, particularly during periods of warmer daytime temperatures, until the first hard frost. Rhode Islanders should continue to take personal protection steps to avoid mosquito bites, such as covering up and wearing mosquito repellent when mosquitoes are active, such as when hiking in the woods in warmer weather. Personal protection is still the first line of defense against mosquitoes that can carry diseases such as West Nile Virus and EEE, and is by far the most effective way of avoiding infection.

For toll-free information on protection measures, call DEMís Mosquito Information Line at 1-866-634-7500 or HEALTHís 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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