west nile

RI Mosquitoes Test Positive for EEE

Sep 5, 2013

For the first time this year, mosquitoes trapped in Rhode Island have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis, a virus characterized by the sudden onset of  headache, high fever, chills and vomiting.  A second mosquito batch has tested positive for West Nile Virus.

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The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management has announced the first finding of West Nile Virus in mosquitoes in the state this year.

The department routinely checks mosquitoes for both West Nile Virus, and Eastern Equine Encephalitis starting in the late spring.

Alan Getman of the DEM said West Nile Virus has been in Rhode Island for twelve years, and today’s reappearance was not unexpected.

If you’re going outdoors this weekend, as many of us will, you’ll want to protect yourself against mosquito bites. The state Department of Environmental Management is reporting the largest crop of mosquitos in at least 21 years. 

The reason: heavy rains last month.  The warm, dry air mass that’s with us now is slowly killing the mosquito population, but the DEM’s Alan Gettman said they’ll be bad this weekend, particularly at fireworks shows.

The RI Department of Environmental Management says in a statement today that a weekly sampling of mosquitoes collected from a swamp in Westerly tested positive for West Nile virus. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to hermetically seal yourself, your kids, and your pets inside until the first frost. But the presence of West Nile and other diseases transmitted by so-called “vectors” like mosquitoes and ticks in our area should mean you take a few precautions before venturing into the great outdoors.