Health officials warning RI residents of mosquito-borne diseases

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As the weather warms up, the Rhode Island Department of Health is reminding people to protect themselves against mosquitoes and the dangers associated with the insects.

According to the Dept. of Health, mosquitoes can carry many diseases, including West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis and Zika.

The species of mosquitoes that carry WNV and EEE are found in Rhode Island. Health officials say they bite from the spring until the first heavy frost (usually the end of October).

While the species that transmits Zika is not established in Rhode Island, individual mosquitoes carrying the virus are sometimes found in local traps.

Fact Sheet: Mosquito-Borne Diseases »

“We want Rhode Islanders to get outdoors and enjoy our beautiful state,” said Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH. “We also want to remind everyone about how to prevent exposure to mosquito-borne diseases by protecting themselves from mosquito bites and getting rid of mosquito breeding grounds.”

Protect yourself

  • Put screens on windows and doors. Fix screens that are loose or have holes.
  • At sunrise and sundown (when mosquitoes that carry WNV or EEE are most active), minimize outside activities. If you must be outside, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants and use bug spray.
  • Use EPA-approved bug spray with one of the following active ingredients: DEET (20-30% strength); picaridin, IR3535; and oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthan-diol. Always read the label and follow all directions and precautions.
  • Do not use bug spray with DEET on infants under two months of age. Children should be careful not to rub their eyes after bug spray has been applied on their skin. Wash children’s hands with soap and water to remove any bug spray when they return indoors.
  • Put mosquito netting over playpens and baby carriages.
  • If you are traveling to an area with Zika, be aware that the species of mosquitoes that carry Zika are active throughout the day (dawn through dusk).
  • If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, you and your partner should postpone your travel to areas with Zika, if possible. Discuss any necessary travel plans with your doctor.

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