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Aerial mosquito spraying underway in Rhode Island

Health

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Aerial mosquito spraying took place over several Rhode Island communities Sunday night.

It’s the latest step being taken by the state in an effort to prevent the spread of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).

“It’s a rather extraordinary step, it hasn’t happened since 1996, to kill mosquitoes that are flying around,” DEM’s Chief of Agriculture Ken Ayars said.

Eyewitness News was in Quonset as the plane took off to treat several areas labled “critical risk.” This included Central Falls, West Warwick and parts of northern Rhode Island.

The DEM said it decided to split spraying into two days and plans to treat Westerly on Monday night.

So far this year, EEE has been detected four times in Rhode Island—twice in Central Falls, twice in Westerly and one detection of West Nile virus in Tiverton.

A West Warwick resident also became the first person since 2010 to contract EEE in the state. The diagnosis came a week after a Fairhaven woman died after contracting EEE.

DEM’s Facts on Mosquito Spraying

The DEM said the spray being used to combat the spread is of no risk to humans. Laura McGowan – a spokesperson for Clarke, the contractor for the operation – said the product is “a very fine mist.”

“We have a very fine mist of product called Anvil 10+10, and when I say very fine mist, the droplets are so small that several fit on the head of a pin,” she said. “They are designed to interact with a mosquito’s biology. And we use such a small amount that a shot glass amount treats a football field.”

“So this is a product that has been used for almost 30 years, it’s also been used in many mosquito control operations around the country and it’s also the product that’s been used in Massachusetts for their aerial applications this year,” she added.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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