First mosquito tests negative for EEE, West Nile Virus

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Mosquito season has returned, and the first round of testing from across the state showed no sign of mosquito-borne illnesses.

All of the 104 mosquito pools collected by the Department of Environmental Management have been confirmed negative for both West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).

Test results are pending from the R.I. Department of Health Laboratory for 104 mosquito pools that were collected from 21 different traps on June 16.

Both of the diseases have been established throughout the state, so the DEM and Department of Health are encouraging that Rhode Islanders take personal precaution as the first line of defense against these diseases.

At this time of year, one of the best preventions is to get rid of all things in the yard that hold standing water, such as old tires, buckets, junk, and debris. Also make sure gutters are clean so they drain properly. Mosquitoes breed in standing water, so just one cup of standing water could produce hundreds of mosquitoes.

In previous years, there have been instances where these diseases have been transmitted to humans and domestic animals, but in most occasions it is limited to native bird populations and bird-biting mosquitoes.

The EEE virus affects the brain with symptoms that appear five to ten days following the bite of an infected mosquito. Symptoms may include high fever, headache, stiff neck and decreased consciousness. Up to 50 percent of cases result in fatality.

Most people bitten by West Nile Virus-infected mosquitoes do not get sick, however the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are more prone to infections.These symptoms may include fever, headache, nausea, rash, stiff neck, muscle weakness and disorientation. In serious cases, up to 15 percent may result in fatalities.

If you have any concerns or questions about these mosquito-borne diseases, contact the Department of Environmental Management.

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