NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Department of Health has reported the state’s first human case of West Nile virus this year.

A person in their 70s from Newport County contracted the virus in late August and is now recovering, according to the Health Department.

Symptoms of West Nile virus include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, swollen lymph glands and skin rash. The Health Department said that while some people experience no symptoms after infection, others will have symptoms that last for several days or weeks.

West Nile has been detected 13 times in mosquito samples collected around the state over the past few months — six in Westerly, two in Barrington, and one each in Central Falls, Cranston, Johnston, Richmond, and Tiverton.

Rhode Islanders should take the following steps to prevent mosquito bites:

  • Put screens on windows and doors
  • Avoid being outside during sunrise and sunset
  • Use EPA-approved bug spray
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
  • Remove items that collect water from around your house
  • Clean gutters and downspouts for proper drainage
  • Remove unused water from pools, trash bins or anything that collects water

The risk of contracting mosquito-borne illnesses lasts until the first hard frost, which usually arrives in late October.

So far this year, Connecticut has confirmed four human cases of West Nile, while Massachusetts has reported three.

Locations are not exact and are meant to illustrate findings by community. Source: RI DEM/RI DOH