PRODIVENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Health officials said the last mosquito samples of the year tested negative for West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and the Department of Health (RIDOH) said the negative results come from a set of 78 samples from Sept. 30, 51 samples from Sept. 18, and 95 from Sept. 11.
Even though mosquito numbers are lower, health officials say Rhode Island has not yet experienced a hard frost, which eliminates the risk of contracting mosquito borne illnesses.
Last month, RIDOH confirmed the state’s first human case of West Nile Virus in 2017. The 66-year-old from Providence County began to experience symptoms on Sept. 15.
The health department said the public should continue to 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.