WEST KINGSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — West Nile virus has been detected in a sample of mosquitoes trapped in West Kingston, health officials announced Thursday.
According to the Departments of Health and Environmental Management, the mosquitoes were collected Sept. 21, and the species is known to bite both humans and birds.
It marks the fourth finding of the West Nile in Rhode Island this year. The mosquito-borne illness was detected in the Knightsville section of Cranston last week, and before that in North Kingstown and Tiverton.
On Tuesday, a Boston-area man died of West Nile virus, marking Massachusetts’ first death from the illness in three years.
Residents are urged to protect themselves by avoiding mosquito bites and eliminating mosquito breeding grounds. Officials offered the following tips:
- Dress for protection. Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and socks during outdoor evening activities.
- Use bug spray. Use mosquito and tick repellent with no more than 30 percent DEET during outdoor activities, particularly at dusk and during evening hours, when mosquitoes are most active. Do not use repellent on infants.
- Time activities for maximum protection. If possible, minimize outdoor activities between dusk and dawn.
- Evaluate the environment. Be sure all open windows are screened, repair any holes in screens, and fix loose screens. Remove any standing water around yards and houses by emptying planters, wading pools, trash and recycling bins, and other places where water might accumulate to reduce mosquito breeding. Mosquitoes breed in standing water. Just one cup of standing water can produce hundreds of mosquitoes.
Mosquito-borne illnesses are most prevalent in late summer and early fall, and the risk normally lasts until the first frost.