Mosquitos in RI test positive for EEE

RI DEM and the RIDOH say mosquito samples in RI have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEE). (WJAR)

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) on Monday morning announced that mosquitos collected in the state have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEE).

Samples collected in Tiverton, Pawtucket and Westerly on June 26 tested positive, but there are no confirmed human cases of EEE in Rhode Island, accoding to the health department.

Still, the department is encouraging residents to be aware of the symptoms of EEE. Severe cases begin with the sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills and vomiting.

The state also tested mosquitos for West Nile Virus (WNV). To date, there have been no confirmed local findings of WNV in a mosquito sample and no confirmed human cases of West Nile Virus in Rhode Island.

In order to protect residents from contracting either of the viruses, the health department suggests:

  • 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 percent 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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