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Saturday, October 7, 2023

New positive findings of New West Nile, EEE in mosquito samples revealed Friday

Still peak period in especially active mosquito season

By Nancy Lavin, Rhode Island Current

State agencies are warning Rhode Island residents to stay on high alert for mosquito-borne diseases, with new mosquito samples in Exeter and Barrington testing positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile virus, respectively.

The new positive tests reflect samples collected and tested in late September, and announced by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and Department of Health Friday. 

The latest findings come two days after the state revealed the first detected human case of West Nile virus this year, identified in a person in their late 70s who lives in Newport County.

Positive tests for West Nile and EEE across southern New England this summer have created “significant” risk because of elevated levels of both mosquito-borne diseases, according to the state agencies. 

Rhode Island has reported seven positive EEE mosquito samples this year, along with one case in a donkey in Glocester, and 14 mosquito samples with West Nile virus.

Massachusetts has reported three human cases of West Nile virus along with 162 positive mosquito samples, and 26 EEE mosquito samples. Connecticut has identified two human West Nile virus cases and 186 mosquito samples with this virus, plus 65 EEE positive mosquito samples, one EEE mammal case and one EEE bird case.

State agencies continue to urge residents to take precautions against what has been characterized as a “particularly active mosquito season” by using U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved bug spray and wearing long-sleeve shirts and long pants when outside, especially at sunrise and sunset. 

The state’s Mosquito-Borne Disease Advisory Group has also recommended rescheduling outdoor school and community events to avoid early morning and dusk hours, or to move the activities indoors.

The warning extends until the first hard frost – defined as at least three hours below 32 degrees – which kills adult mosquitoes. 

More information about mosquito-borne diseases, including prevention tips and local data, is available at



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