PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The arrival of thick fog late Monday night hindered the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) from completing its second round of aerial mosquito spraying.
The DEM said they were able to spray parts of Woonsocket, North Smithfield and Burrillville overnight, but because of the weather conditions decided to postpone spraying in Westerly, Charlestown and Hopkinton until Tuesday. The spraying company, Clarke, finished the treatment around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday night.
This is the third time the state conducted aerial spraying in an attempt to combat the mosquito population and prevent the spread of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).
On Sunday night, spraying was completed in all of West Warwick and parts of Coventry, Scituate, Cranston, Warwick, East Greenwich and West Greenwich. Crews were also able to spray all of Central Falls, Pawtucket and North Providence – as well as parts of Providence, East Providence, Smithfield, Lincoln and Cumberland.
The state also dropped larvicide on several swampy areas last week hoping to prevent immature mosquitoes from developing into adults.
The communities chosen for aerial spraying were prioritized because they were assessed to be at “critical risk” for EEE. The product being sprayed – Anvil 10+10 – poses no risk to humans and is being used in low concentrations.
This year has been considered high-risk for mosquito-borne illness in Southern New England.
So far this year, EEE has been detected six times in Rhode Island— oncei n Coventry, twice in Central Falls and three times in Westerly. In addition, there have been two detections of West Nile Virus – one in Tiverton and another in Westerly.
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A West Warwick resident died of EEE Sunday after being the first Rhode Islander to contract the virus since 2010. The resident was also the first to die from EEE in the state since 2007.
Both Massachusetts and Connecticut are also working to combat mosquito-borne illness due to the high-risk level this year.
Last month, a Fairhaven woman died after contracting EEE. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has been continuously conducting aerial spraying in dozens of communities across the state and are currently working to complete treatments in an additional 78 communities.
Mosquito samples also tested positive for EEE in several Connecticut communities bordering Rhode Island.