Rhode Island mosquitoes test positive for West Nile virus

East Bay

WARREN, R.I. (WPRI) — A pool of mosquitoes collected in Warren tested positive for West Nile virus, the Rhode Island Department of Health confirmed Thursday.

It’s the first time the mosquito-borne illness has been detected in Rhode Island this year. There have been three previous findings of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE).

The pool which tested positive was collected Aug. 7 and contained the species of mosquito that bite both birds and humans, health officials said. They said the other 105 traps set the same day tested negative for both West Nile and EEE.

Health officials said the finding is not unexpected, as mosquito-borne diseases are more prevalent in late summer and early fall. The risk, they said, lasts until the first hard frost.

The health department said the public should take the following precautions during summer months:

  • Remove anything around your house and yard that collects water; just one cup of water can produce hundreds of mosquitoes.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts to ensure proper drainage, and repair holes in window screens.
  • Remove any water from unused swimming pools, wading pools, boats, planters, trash and recycling bins, tires, and anything else that collects water, and cover them.
  • Change the water in birdbaths at least two times a week, and rinse out birdbaths once a week.
  • Use EPA-approved bug spray with one of the following active ingredients: DEET (20-30% strength), picaridin, IR3535, and oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol. Do not use bug spray on infants under 1 year of age.
  • Minimize outdoor activity at dawn and at dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Put insect netting over strollers and playpens.
  • Wear long sleeves and long pants whenever possible, particularly if you are outdoors during dawn and dusk.

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