WARREN, R.I. (WPRI) – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) announced Tuesday that a mosquito sample collected from Warren on Sept. 5 tested positive for West Nile virus.
This is the third finding of West Nile virus in Rhode Island this year, according to environmental officials. The first occurred in Warren on Aug. 7 and the second in Barrington on Aug. 15. The remaining 85 mosquito samples from traps set on Sept. 5 tested negative for West Nile virus and Easten Equine Encephalitis (EEE).
Environmental officials say the positive finding is not unexpected. Mosquito-borne diseases are more prevalent in late summer and early fall, with risk typically lasting until the first frost.
The health department said the public should take the following precautions:
- 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.