WEST WARWICK, RI (WPRI) – The Rhode Island Department of Health on Friday afternoon announced the first case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) since 2010.
Health officials say a person over 50 years from West Warwick contracted the mosquito-borne disease.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which performs the EEE test, announces RIDOH today for the positive result,
The news comes a day after Rod Management Department of Management The island's environment has announced that a horse in the Westerly test is positive for the disease and less than a week after a Fairhaven woman died after being infected with EEE.
According to the Rhode Island Ministry of Health, the last time Rhode Island died of EEE was in 2007.
"In Rhode Island, we confirmed EEE to both a horse and a person, indicating that there is a high risk from transmitting disease to humans through mosquito bites, "said Ana Novais, RIDOH's deputy director. "EEE is a rare but very serious disease. We strongly recommend that people everywhere in Rhode Island protect themselves and their families by using insect repellent, minimizing outdoor exposure and dawn, and wear long sleeves and pants when outside at this time. People also need to reduce mosquito breeding opportunities by eliminating stagnant water around their homes.
At a news conference Friday night, Andrea Bagnal Degos told reporters that those contracted with the EEE responded differently to the virus.
In fact, 30% of people who contract the virus will die, according to Andrea Bagnall Degos.
In addition, those who become infected with the virus may not develop any symptoms.
The Department of Health stated that DEM is adding traps to capture and test more mosquitoes nationwide. The agency said the state was preparing to conduct aerial spraying.
An area that DEM is considering is the Chapman Swamp in the West.
The last ariel spray was conducted in 1996 over the city of the West. With the last land spraying in Portsmouth in 2012
DEM was considering closing the state camp for the holiday weekend, but decided to do so.
Instead, they emailed guests to these campsites regarding EEE risk.
In addition, DEM sent this message to privately owned campsites in Rhode Island.
A similar email was issued by the Rhode Island Department of Health to all healthcare professionals about the risk of EEE.
DEM and DOH speakers ask you to limit your time outside between dusk and dawn, wear a lot of bug spray that has DEET and cover open skin.
Mike Healy of DEM says cities need to be active when it comes to canceling or rescheduling events.