The Department of Environmental Management and the Rhode Island Department of Health announced Wednesday that test results from three mosquito pools, including one in North Kingstown, tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV).
The positive WNV results were from mosquitoes trapped in central North Kingstown, as well in Providence and East Providence. All of the mosquitoes were of the Culex species that feeds on birds and mammals.
These findings are not unexpected at this time of the year, according to DEM spokeswoman Gail Mastrati, and WNV is presumed likely to be present in other areas of the state. Test results on the remaining 123 mosquito pools from 33 traps set statewide during the week of September 9 are pending at the state Department of Health laboratory.
So far this year seven pools of mosquitoes have tested positive for WNV and four pools of mosquitoes has tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). There have been no reported cases in 2013 of WNV or EEE in humans in Rhode Island. Human cases of WNV and EEE have been reported in nearby states. There have been three confirmed cases of WNV in Massachusetts, and two deaths from WNV in New Jersey. Vermont has had one death from EEE.
DEM offers a list of precautions people should take to decrease their exposure to mosquitos, which will be around until the first hard frost.
· Dress for protection. Wear long pants, long-sleeve shirts and socks during outdoor evening and early morning activities.
· Use bug spray. Use mosquito repellent with no more than 30 percent DEET during outdoor activities, particularly at dawn, dusk, and evening hours, when mosquitoes are most active. Do not use repellent on infants. Instead, put mosquito netting over playpens and baby carriages.
· Time activities for maximum protection. If possible, minimize outdoor activities between dusk and dawn.
· Evaluate the environment. Be sure all open windows are screened, repair any holes in screens, and fix loose screens. Residents and facility groundskeepers should immediately look for and empty standing water following heavy rain, and ensure rain gutters are clear of debris that might trap water. Remove any standing water around yards and houses by emptying planters, wading pools, trash and recycling bins, and other places where water might accumulate to reduce mosquito breeding. Mosquitoes breed in standing water. Just one cup of standing water can produce hundreds of mosquitoes.