The state Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announced today that test results from a mosquito sample from central Tiverton tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).
This is the first positive report of EEE identified in Rhode Island this year, although it is presumed likely to be present in other areas of the state. The positive EEE result was from a Culiseta species that feeds almost exclusively on birds.
The positive finding came from mosquitoes trapped by DEM staff on Aug. 6 and tested at the state Department of Health (HEALTH) laboratory. The results were confirmed today. As a result, DEM will be setting extra mosquito traps across the East Bay area.
In Rhode Island EEE has only been found in mosquito species that bite birds, unlike in Massachusetts, where EEE was isolated in mammal-biting mosquito species trapped in numerous locations in southeastern Massachusetts.
These findings of significant numbers of mosquitoes carrying EEE in mammal-biting mosquitoes in Massachusetts prompted aerial spraying in affected Massachusetts communities.
Due to the high numbers of adult biting mosquitoes in the region, a Portsmouth playground was sprayed on Friday, Aug. 10 to address the outbreak.
According to Alan Gettman, Ph.D., DEM's mosquito abatement coordinator, it was not surprising to find the positive EEE sample at this time of year. The positive result is confirmation that there are infected mosquitoes in the environment. Therefore, all Rhode Islanders should take extra care to protect themselves, particularly when mosquito-biting activity is high.
Avoid The Risk:
- Biting is generally is greatest from dusk to dawn. During the day it decreases in sunny areas at lower temperatures and increases in shady areas at higher temperatures. Biting activity also generally increases with high humidity and with low wind.
- Personal protection is the first line of defense against mosquitoes that can carry diseases like EEE and West Nile Virus. DEM recommends routine use of mosquito repellent and to cover up when mosquito-biting activity is greatest.
- Place mosquito netting over playpens and carriages outside, and be sure that screens are in good repair. Mosquito repellent should contain no more than 30 percent DEET, and it should not be used on infants.
This year, to date in Rhode Island, two pools of mosquitoes tested positive for West Nile Virus and only the Tiverton pool tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis.
Mosquitoes in Rhode Island are trapped every week statewide by DEM staff and tested at the RI Department of Health laboratory. DEM will normally report mosquito test results once a week on a routine basis, with additional reports as necessary. Routine test results from remaining pools of mosquitoes trapped during the week of Aug. 6 will be included in next week's announcement.
For online information about mosquito-borne diseases, go to DEM's website, and click on “Public Health Updates” or go to the HEALTH website, and click on “E” (Eastern Equine Encephalitis) or “W” (West Nile Virus) under “Health Topics.”
This information is from a press release issued by the state Department of Environmental Management.