Mosquito testing concludes, residents asked to prevent bites

This is a file image of a mosquito. (WLNE)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Environmental officials in Rhode Island said they’ve finished testing mosquitoes for diseases this year, but they’re still urging residents to prevent bites until the first hard frost.

The state Department of Environmental Management said Thursday that the final round of mosquito testing confirmed no new positive findings of either West Nile virus or eastern equine encephalitis. DEM collected 158 samples of mosquitoes from 45 traps set statewide from Sept. 29 to Oct. 12.

Earlier this month, Rhode Island confirmed its first human case of West Nile virus since 2018. Massachusetts confirmed nine human cases and one case in an alpaca, and Connecticut had two human cases this year, DEM said.

For the season, Rhode Island tested 2,598 mosquito pools collected from June 2 through Oct. 12, six of which tested positive for West Nile virus. None tested positive for eastern equine encephalitis.

DEM said that although mosquito populations are naturally reduced at this time of year, the likelihood of an individual mosquito carrying a disease is higher and mosquitoes may be more apt to fly into homes when doors are opened because the weather is cooler. It’s asking residents to try to avoid being bitten until the first hard frost.

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