Health Notice: EEE Virus and West Nile Virus

September 13, 2019

As the fall semester is underway, Health Services wants to take the opportunity to raise your awareness about Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).

Both EEEV and WNV have been identified in mosquitoes in Rhode Island and surrounding states. It is normal to identify these viruses in our region at this time of year. We expect this cycle to occur every year in the late summer through the first hard frost of the fall season.

EEEV and WNV are transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Human cases resulting in encephalitis (inflammation in the brain) are extremely rare. The chances of any one individual contracting encephalitis is remote, but not impossible.  

The most effective way to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses is to protect yourself from mosquito bites.  We recommend that all community members take steps to minimize their risk of exposure to mosquitoes. The personal prevention measures outlined below are from the CDC and Rhode Island Department of Health:

  • Limit outdoor activities during peak mosquito times (dusk to dawn) and avoid areas that have lots of mosquitos.

  • When spending time outdoors, use an EPA approved insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus on exposed skin and/or clothing when outdoors.

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when weather permits.

  • Have secure, intact screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.

  • Eliminate mosquito breeding sites by emptying any standing water in outdoor containers.

Please contact Health Services at 401-863-3953 with any questions or concerns.  Wishing you all a healthy and productive semester.