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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

No new positive findings in RI tests

DEM says no signs of West Nile or EEE in RI test samples
DEM news release

EDITOR'S NOTE: the RI Health Department reports the first human case of West Nile virus contracted by a Newport man last month.

PROVIDENCE -- The Department of Environmental Management announces that test results from the remaining 174 mosquito pools, or samples, from 42 traps set statewide during the week of August 20 are negative for both West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). One mosquito pool from a trap set on August 20 in northern Tiverton was confirmed positive last week for EEE.

Also, test results from the remaining 168 mosquito pools, or samples, from 39 traps set statewide during the week of August 27 are negative for both West Nile Virus and EEE. One mosquito pool, or sample, from a trap set on August 27 in North Kingstown tested positive last week for Highlands J virus. Highlands J virus is a bird disease that doesn't affect humans, but which is an indicator that environmental conditions are appropriate for the transmission of other mosquito-borne viruses.

Throughout the mosquito season, residents are encouraged to protect themselves by eliminating mosquito breeding grounds and avoiding mosquito bites. Personal protection is the first line of defense against mosquitoes that can carry diseases such as West Nile Virus and EEE and is by far the most effective way of avoiding infection.

Eliminate mosquito breeding grounds from yards by removing anything that holds standing water such as old tires and buckets, clean gutters so that they drain correctly, and maintain swimming pools properly. Mosquitoes breed in standing water. Just one cup of standing water can produce hundreds of mosquitoes. 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. Also, use mosquito repellent, but with no more than 30 percent DEET. Do not use repellent on infants.

Tips for Horse Owners

Because horses are susceptible to West Nile Virus and EEE, Rhode Island horse owners should consult with their veterinarians to determine if their horses are properly vaccinated against both diseases and take measures to control and prevent mosquito exposure. Those controls should include: removing or covering all areas where standing water can collect; applying mosquito larvicide in appropriate locations; and avoiding turning animals outside at dawn, dusk and during the night when mosquitoes are most active. Horse owners should insect-proof facilities where possible; use approved repellants frequently; monitor animals for symptoms of fever, in-coordination, stumbling and neurological signs; and report all suspicious cases to a veterinarian immediately.

Mosquitoes are trapped every week statewide by DEM staff and tested at the RI Department of Health (HEALTH) laboratory. DEM will normally report mosquito test results once a week on a routine basis, with additional reports as necessary. Test results from mosquitoes trapped this week will be included in next week's announcement. Positive mosquito test results will generally trigger additional trapping to assess risk.

This year, to date in Rhode Island, three pools of mosquitoes have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis and three pools have tested positive for West Nile Virus. 

For online information about mosquito-borne diseases, go to DEM's website,, and click on "Public Health Updates", or go to the HEALTH website,, and click on "E" (Eastern Equine Encephalitis) or "W" (West Nile Virus) under "Health Topics".