RI Mosquito Report: State announces 2nd finding of West Nile Virus at Westerly collection site


PROVIDENCE, RI – The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announced today that the latest round of mosquito testing by the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) State Health Laboratories confirmed the second detection of West Nile Virus (WNV) in the state. summer. As with the first WNV find announced by DEM on August 17, the second sample was collected in Westerly. The RIDOH test did not detect new positives for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). During the week of August 23, DEM collected 83 mosquito samples from 37 traps set statewide. The results of the mosquitoes collected during the week of August 29 are awaited.

Although WNV has now been detected twice from the same Westly trap site, state officials stress that the disease is more common than EEE at this stage of the mosquito season and is likely circulating in mosquitoes throughout the state. WNV is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States. WNV cases occur during the mosquito season, which begins in the summer and continues into the fall. There are no vaccines or drugs to prevent WNV in humans. Fortunately, most people infected with WNV do not feel sick. About one in five people infected develop a fever and other symptoms. About 1 in 150 infected people develop 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 advise Rhode Islanders to reduce their exposure to mosquitoes before the first hard frost. A hard frost is when the air and ground freeze below 32°F for three hours or below 28°F for two hours.

To date, 151 positive WNV samples have been reported in Connecticut, but there are no cases of WNV in humans or animals and no EEE in mosquitoes, humans, or animals. Massachusetts reports 64 positive WNV samples and one human case and no EEE in mosquitoes, humans, or animals.

Personal protection is the first line of defense against mosquitoes that may carry WNV, EEE or other diseases and is the most effective way to prevent infection. With WNV established in the state, residents are reminded to eliminate mosquito breeding areas and avoid biting whenever possible. The following precautions are recommended.

Protect yourself

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