WESTERLY, R.I. (WPRI) — West Nile virus has been detected for the first time this year in a mosquito sample from Westerly, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) said Friday.

The positive sample came from a trap set on July 24 and was among 199 samples taken statewide. No human cases have been reported in Rhode Island so far this year.

Massachusetts has had 21 samples test positive for West Nile this year, while Connecticut has had three positive samples.


According to the DEM, most people infected with West Nile 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 of the virus 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