PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — With EEE having been detected in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and West Nile virus popping up recently in Seekonk, the R.I. Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is urging people to protect against mosquito bites.

The threat of mosquito-borne illnesses lasts until the first heavy frost, which typically arrives in late October.

When spending time outdoors, the first line of defense and most effective way to avoid infection is personal protection, according to the DEM. The agency offered the following tips to keep yourself and your family safe:

In addition, the DEM said horses are particularly susceptible to EEE and West Nile Virus and advised owners to vaccinate their horses early in the season.

More prevention tips for horse owners:

  • Remove or cover areas where standing water can collect.
  • Avoid putting animals outside at dawn, dusk, or during the night when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Insect-proof facilities where possible and use approved repellants frequently.
  • Monitor animals for symptoms of fever and/or neurological signs (such as stumbling, moodiness, loss of appetite) and report all suspicious cases to a veterinarian immediately. If you are unsure if your horse is properly vaccinated, you should consult with your veterinarian.

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