PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Even though the leaves are changing and a chill is in the air, we’re not out of the woods yet when it comes to the risk of contracting a mosquito-borne illness.
While the season may soon be ending, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) said everyone should continue to take precautions against mosquito bites.
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It has been a busy season for mosquito-borne illnesses, especially eastern equine encephalitis (EEE).
The disease has claimed the life of a West Warwick resident and three people have died in both Massachusetts and Connecticut. The family of a Taunton man said he died from EEE last week but that has not yet been confirmed by state health officials.
The last mosquito sample to test positive for EEE was collected two weeks ago in South Kingstown.
The threat of mosquito-borne illnesses usually ends after the first hard frost, which typically occurs in mid- to late October. In order to have a hard frost, temperatures must be freezing for three straight hours.
While the season’s first hard frost occurred Saturday in some areas of the state, it did not happen everywhere. Chief Meteorologist Tony Petrarca said the next chance for a hard frost will likely be this coming weekend.
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Even though there are fewer mosquitoes out now, the DEM encourages everyone to remain cautious from dusk to dawn, use repellent with DEET, and wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and high socks while outside during peak biting hours.