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RI Mosquito Report: A West Nile Virus Isolation Collected


PROVIDENCE, RI – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management announced today that the latest round of mosquito testing by the State Health Laboratories of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) confirmed isolation of West Nile Virus (WNV) from mosquitoes, collected September 7 North Kingstown. All other 13 pools collected on September 7 were negative for WNV and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). All 68 pools collected on September 12 were negative for WNV and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). Results from mosquitoes collected during the week of September 19 are pending. The first human case of WNV in Rhode Island was reported by RIDOH on September 16. WNV and EEE are transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito.

Although WNV has only been detected four times this year, with 1 human case and 3 mosquito isolations, state officials emphasize that the disease is much more common than EEE at this stage of the mosquito season and is likely to be widespread in mosquitoes nationwide. To date, Connecticut has reported 185 positive WNV samples and two human WNV cases, and Massachusetts reports 93 positive WNV samples and four human cases. Both Connecticut and Massachusetts have reported no detections of EEE in mosquitoes, humans, or animals.

WNV is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States. Cases of WNV occur during the mosquito season, which begins in the summer and lasts into the fall. There are no vaccines to prevent or drugs to treat WNV in humans. Fortunately, most people who are infected with WNV do not feel ill. About one in five infected people develops a fever and other symptoms. About 1 in 150 people infected will develop a serious, sometimes fatal disease. You can reduce your risk of WNV by using insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants to avoid mosquito bites. DEM and RIDOH are advising Rhode Island residents to reduce their exposure to mosquitoes until the first hard frost. A hard freeze is when the air and ground freezes below 32°F for three hours, or below 28°F for two hours.

Personal protection is the first line of defense against mosquitoes that can transmit WNV, EEE, or other diseases—and the most effective way to avoid infection. With the establishment of WNV in the state, residents will be reminded to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds and prevent being bitten whenever possible. The following precautions are recommended.

Protect yourself:

o Install fly screens on windows and doors. Fix screens that are loose or have holes.

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