PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A mosquito sample collected in Pawtucket last week tested positive for West Nile virus, the Rhode Island Departments of Health and Environmental Management announced Thursday.
Officials said the mosquitoes were collected on July 25 and the species is known to bite both humans and birds. It was the first finding of the virus in Rhode Island this year.
There have been no instances of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in the state this year, but both EEE and West Nile have been detected across the border in Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Mosquito-borne diseases are more prevalent in the late summer and early fall and the risk lasts at least until the first frost. Residents are urged to protect against mosquito bites and eliminate mosquito breeding grounds. Officials offered the following tips:
- Eliminate breeding grounds from yards by removing anything that holds standing water, such as old tires, buckets, junk and debris. Just one cup of standing water can produce hundreds of mosquitoes.
- Clean gutters so they drain correctly.
- Make sure swimming pools are treated with chlorine, pumps are running properly, and any water that collects on pool covers is removed.
- Avoid mosquito bites by using screens on windows and doors, covering up at dawn and dusk, and putting mosquito netting over playpens and baby carriages when they are outside. Use mosquito repellent with at least 20 percent DEET but no more than 30 percent. Do not use repellent on infants.
Officials said horses are also susceptible to mosquito-borne illnesses and owners should make sure they’re vaccinated early in the season.