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Mosquito Response Protocol
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RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade Street, Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462
DEM: AUGUST 16 WEST NILE/EEE STATUS UPDATEPROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management announces that test results from 79 mosquito pools, or samples, from 25 traps set statewide during the week of July 31 are negative for both West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Test results from eight additional pools are pending. Two mosquito pools from one trap set in South Kingstown on August 8 have tested positive for the Highlands J virus. Highlands J virus is a bird disease, and does not affect humans; however it is an indicator that environmental conditions are appropriate for the transmission of other mosquito-borne viruses.
"This year, to date, no mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile Virus or Eastern Equine Encephalitis in Rhode Island; however, we are entering into the height of the mosquito-borne disease transmission season," says Alan Gettman, Ph.D., DEM's mosquito abatement coordinator. "The possibility of disease transmission is increasingly likely; therefore people should continue to protect themselves by avoiding mosquito bites and eliminating mosquito breeding grounds."
Personal protection is 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.
West Nile Virus is well-established throughout the state and, indeed, throughout the country. EEE has been found in most areas of Rhode Island in prior years; this year, EEE has been found in mosquitoes in several Massachusetts communities, including some communities in the southeastern part of the state. People are urged to avoid mosquito bites by using screens on windows and doors, covering up at dawn and dusk, and putting mosquito netting over playpens and baby carriages when they are outside. Also, use mosquito repellent, but with no more than 30 percent DEET. Do not use repellent on infants. Eliminate mosquito breeding grounds from yards by removing anything that holds standing water, such as old tires, buckets, junk and debris, and clean gutters so that they drain properly.
Mosquitoes are trapped every week statewide by DEM staff and tested at the RI Department of Health (HEALTH) laboratory. DEM will normally report mosquito test results once a week on a routine basis, generally by Wednesday, with additional reports as necessary. Test results from mosquitoes trapped last week will be included in next week's announcement, as will routine results from pending tests. Positive mosquito test results will generally trigger additional trapping to assess risk.
For online information about mosquito-borne diseases, go to DEM's website, www.state.dem.ri.gov, and click on "Public Health Updates", or go to the HEALTH website, www.health.ri.gov, and click on "E" (Eastern Equine Encephalitis) or "W" ((West Nile Virus)) under "Health Topics".