Mosquitoes are carriers (vectors) for many diseases, including West Nile Virus (WNV), Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), and Zika Virus. The species of mosquitoes that carry WNV and EEE are found in Rhode Island and bite until the first heavy frost (usually the end of October). The species of mosquitoes that carry Zika Virus are not known to be in Rhode Island any time of year. Everyone who participates in outdoor activities should take actions to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
What You Should Do
- Put screens on windows and doors. Fix screens that have holes.
- At sunrise and sundown (when mosquitoes who carry WNV or EEE are most active), minimize outside activities. If you must be outside, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants and use bug spray. If you are traveling to a Zika Virus area, the species of mosquitoes that carry Zika Virus are active throughout the day (dawn through dusk) and are most active at midday.
- Use bug spray with at least 20% DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide). Make sure that bug spray does not have more than 30% DEET. Do not use bug spray with DEET on infants. more
- Put mosquito netting over playpens and baby carriages.
Get rid of mosquito breeding grounds
- Get rid of anything around your house and yard that collects water. One cup of water can produce thousands of mosquitoes!
- Clean your gutters so that they can drain properly.
- Remove any water from unused swimming pools, boats, or water features and cover them.
- Change the water in birdbaths at least two times a week.
- Help your neighbors, friends and family do the same things.
What We Do
Test individuals for WNV, EEE, and Zika Virus
- Test mosquitoes for presence of WNV, EEE, and Zika Virus from June through October in a coopertive effort with the Department of Environmental Management (RI DEM). RI DEM traps mosquitoes at various locations throughout Rhode Island and separates the mosquitoes in each trap into 'pools' according to species. The State Laboratory tests each pool for the presence of disease.
- The Center for Biological Sciences tests human specimens for the presence of West Nile Virus and EEE virus year-round.