WESTERLY, R.I. (WPRI) — A third mosquito sample collected in Westerly has tested positive for West Nile virus, the R.I. Department of Environmental Management (DEM) said Friday.
The mosquito-borne illness has only been detected three times in Rhode Island so far this summer, and each of those were samples gathered in Westerly. The traps for this round of testing were set on Aug. 15, according to the DEM, while the others were set during separate weeks in late July.
Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) has not been detected in the state this year, and there have been no reported human cases of either disease.
The DEM says most people infected with West Nile virus don’t know they have it. Only one in five people show symptoms, which can include a fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, swollen lymph glands, and skin rash.
However, one in 150 people can develop a serious disease that’s sometimes fatal.
Last year, at least one reported human case in Rhode Island sent a person to the hospital. No human cases of EEE were reported in the state last year.
Rhode Islanders should take the following steps to prevent mosquito bites that cause these illnesses:
- 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