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Rhode Island announces first West Nile Virus finding of summer

Christian Fernsby |
The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announced that a mosquito sample collected July 29 in Cranston has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV) by RIDOH State Health Laboratories.

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This is the first WNV finding of the summer in Rhode Island and was the only confirmed WNV-positive finding from 70 mosquito samples collected from 10 traps July 29. To date, no mosquito samples have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in the state.

WNV is much more prevalent than EEE and this finding is not unexpected, as WNV has become established in North America following its introduction in 1999. To date this summer, 37 pools of mosquitoes trapped in Connecticut and 38 mosquito pools in Massachusetts have tested positive for WNV.

The positive findings in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and now Rhode Island indicate that WNV has established seasonal activity in our area. WNV will become more prevalent as the season progresses, so DEM and RIDOH advise residents to reduce their exposure to mosquitoes until the first hard frost. There have been no findings of EEE in mosquito pools in Connecticut or Massachusetts.

Personal protection is the first line of defense against mosquitoes that may carry WNV, EEE, or other diseases and the most effective way to avoid infection. With WNV established in the state, residents are reminded to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds and prevent being bitten, whenever possible.

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