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Mosquito Response Protocol

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News Release
RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade Street, Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462

For Release: August 7, 2012
Contact: Gail Mastrati 222-4700 ext. 2402

Test Results Not Unexpected, but Serve as Reminder for Public to Protect Themselves Against Mosquito Bites

PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management announces that a sample of mosquitoes collected on July 30 in the Smith Hill area of Providence has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV). The sample, or pool, of 34 mosquitoes is a species that can bite both birds and humans.

Mosquito samples are tested weekly at the RI Health Department laboratory. Test results from the remaining 120 pools of mosquitoes trapped on July 30 are still pending.

The positive findings are not unexpected. West Nile Virus is well established throughout the state, and, indeed, throughout the country. West Nile Virus is increasingly being detected in mosquito samples trapped at multiple locations in Massachusetts, Western Connecticut, and Long Island. While Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) has not yet been isolated in Rhode Island this season, it was recently isolated in mosquitoes trapped in numerous locations in southeastern Massachusetts. Both diseases are more prevalent in late summer and early fall.

Throughout the mosquito season, residents are encouraged to protect themselves by eliminating mosquito breeding grounds and avoiding mosquito bites. 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. Eliminate mosquito breeding grounds from yards by removing anything that holds standing water such as old tires and buckets, clean gutters so that they drain correctly, and maintain swimming pools properly. Mosquitoes breed in standing water. Just one cup of standing water can produce hundreds of mosquitoes. 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.

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, with additional reports as necessary. Test results from mosquitoes trapped this week will be included in next week's announcement. Positive mosquito test results will generally trigger additional trapping to assess risk.

This year, to date in Rhode Island, two pools of mosquitoes has tested positive for West Nile Virus and no mosquitoes have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

For online information about mosquito-borne diseases, go to DEM's website,, and click on "Public Health Updates", or go to the HEALTH website,, and click on "E" (Eastern Equine Encephalitis) or "W" (West Nile Virus) under "Health Topics".


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