The Department of Environmental Management today announced that the most recent round of mosquito testing by Rhode Island Department of Health State Health Laboratories has confirmed a second detection of West Nile Virus (WNV) in the state this summer. As was the case with the first WNV finding, which DEM announced Aug. 17, the second sample also was collected in Westerly. RIDOH testing revealed no new positives of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). DEM collected 83 samples of mosquitoes from 37 traps set statewide during the week of Aug. 23. Results from mosquitoes collected during the week of Aug. 29 are pending.

Although WNV has now been detected twice from the same Westerly trap site, state officials stress that at this stage of mosquito season, the disease is much more prevalent than EEE and is likely prevalent in mosquitoes statewide. WNV is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States. Cases of WNV occur during mosquito season, which starts in the summer and continues through fall. There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat WNV in people. Fortunately, most people infected with WNV do not feel sick. About one in five people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms. About one out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness. You can reduce your risk of WNV by using insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants to prevent mosquito bites. DEM and the RIDOH advise Rhode Islanders to reduce their exposure to mosquitoes until the first hard frost. A hard frost is when the air and the ground freeze below 32°F for three hours or below 28°F for two hours.

To date, Connecticut has reported 151 positive WNV samples but no WNV human or animal cases, and no EEE in mosquitoes, humans, or animals. Massachusetts reports 64 positive WNV samples and one human case and no EEE in mosquitoes, humans, or animals.



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