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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Last DEM bug alert for the season

PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management announces that test results from 49 mosquito pools, or samples, from 28 traps set statewide on October 9 are confirmed negative for both West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). 

One mosquito pool trapped on October 9 in Warren had been previously confirmed positive for Highlands J Virus, a bird disease that doesn't affect humans.

This year in Rhode Island, six pools of mosquitoes tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis and five pools tested positive for West Nile Virus. Due to negligible numbers of mosquitoes being collected, no traps have been set since the October 9 trap week, and no results are pending; therefore, this is the last weekly status update of the season.

While mosquito numbers naturally dwindle at this time of year, the unusually warm weather in early October has allowed them to remain active. Although frosty conditions affected the area within the past two weeks, we have yet to sustain a hard frost, which eliminates the risk of contracting mosquito-borne diseases.

Therefore, residents should continue to minimize their exposure to mosquito bites particularly on warmer days, when mosquitoes are active and visible in the environment. Personal protection is the first line of defense against mosquitoes that can carry diseases such as WNV 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, buckets, junk and debris; 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.

Mosquitoes were trapped every week statewide throughout the season by DEM staff and tested at the RI Department of Health (HEALTH) laboratory.

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".