Mosquitoes in RI test negative for EEE, West Nile virus

This 2006 photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a female Aedes aegypti mosquito in the process of acquiring a blood meal from a human host.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announced Tuesday that all mosquitoes in its most recent sample tested negative for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile virus.

The DEM said the mosquitoes were gathered on July 17 and July 24 from a total of 60 traps around the state. Despite the negative results, the DEM said Rhode Islanders should continue to protect themselves against mosquitoes this summer.

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The DEM advises Rhode Islanders to:

  • Remove anything around your house and yard that collects water; just one cup of water can produce hundreds of mosquitoes.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts to ensure proper drainage, and repair holes in window screens.
  • Remove any water from unused swimming pools, wading pools, boats, planters, trash and recycling bins, tires, and anything else that collects water, and cover them.
  • Change the water in birdbaths at least two times a week, and rinse out birdbaths once a week.
  • 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-menthane-diol. Do not use bug spray on infants under 1 year of age.
  • Minimize outdoor activity at dawn and at dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Put insect netting over strollers and playpens.
  • Wear long sleeves and long pants whenever possible, particularly if you are outdoors during dawn and dusk.

Mosquitoes collected in late June in Pawtucket, Tiverton and Westerly tested positive for EEE.

To date, there are no confirmed human cases of EEE in Rhode Island. Symptoms of EEE include the sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills and vomiting, according to the DEM. If you think you or a family member may have EEE, the DEM said it is important to consult your healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis.