DEM advises caution in light of EEE death

PROVIDENCE, RI – The death of a Raynham,Massachusetts man from mosquito borne Eastern Equine Encephalitis or EEE is a reminder for residents to protect themselves. That's according to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental management, which monitors the presence of the virus in mosquito pools across the state.

Al Gettman, DEM's mosquito abatement coordinator, says he hasn't detected any EEE in Rhode Island this year.

"But when we see numerous isolations of the virus in numerous mosquito samples right next door to us," he says. "That means for Rhode Islanders we should have heightened awareness."

Gettman says Rhode Islanders should take common sense precautions like using bug spray and wearing long sleeve shirts. Last week, DEM detected one case of West Nile Virus in a pool in Providence.

Although EEE has a high mortality rate, it is extremely rare. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rhode Island has only reported six cases of the virus over the past 45 years.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.