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EEE Response: RI Spraying Four Areas Sunday Night

[CREDIT: DEM] A closeup of central RI communities that will be sprayed to protect against EEE bearing mosquitoes.

[CREDIT: DEM] A map of RI communities that will be sprayed to protect against EEE bearing mosquitoes, scheduled for Sunday night, Sept. 8, 2019.
[CREDIT: DEM] A map of RI communities that will be sprayed to protect against EEE bearing mosquitoes, scheduled for Sunday night, Sept. 8, 2019.
WARWICK — The DEM will begin aerial spraying insecticide across four high-risk areas for EEE-bearing mosquitoes across the state Sunday night, encompassing about 110,000 acres across 21 communities, including western Warwick.

Neighboring West Warwick will be completely covered by the spraying, according to the map, with a southern swath of Cranston, an eastern section of Coventry and a northern piece of East Greenwich affected. RI’s first human case of EEE this year was discovered West Warwick.

The spraying will occur starting at dusk – from twilight till dark and in the overnight hours, according to the DEM.

The health department advises closing windows and doors, and turning off window air-conditioning units or close their vents to circulate indoor air before spraying begins. Windows and air-conditioner vents can be re-opened about 30 minutes after spraying.

The other three areas to be sprayed center on Woonsocket, Pawtucket and Westerly, covering portions of several neighboring communities. These include parts of communities in northern Rhode Island bordering the Massachusetts towns of Uxbridge, Douglas, and Mendon, where EEE has recently been confirmed in three horses. Another area includes Central Falls, where EEE was detected in two mosquitoes and announced Aug. 15. Another spraying zone includes parts of Westerly, where DEM has confirmed two positive EEE detections in mosquitoes as well as a case being transmitted to a horse. 

The areas have been assessed at critical risk for the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus by the state Mosquito-Borne Disease Advisory Group (MBDAG), according to the RI Department of Health.

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On Thursday, the state conducted “larviciding” flights – through which a helicopter dispersed pellets of pesticide to kill mosquito larvae – in swampy areas near Central Falls, in West Warwick, and in Westerly, the RIDOH reported.

With the remnants of Hurricane Dorian tracking northward, the schedule may change, the RIDOH warned.

Protect yourself

  • Put screens on windows and doors. Fix screens that are loose or have holes.
  • At sunrise and sundown (when mosquitoes that carry EEE are most active), consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning. If you must be outside, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants and use bug spray.
  • Use EPA-approved bug spray with one of the following active ingredients: DEET (20-30% strength); picaridin, IR3535; and oil of lemon eucalyptus or paramenthane. Always read the label and follow all directions and precautions.
  • Do not use bug spray with DEET on infants under two months of age. Children should be careful not to rub their eyes after bug spray has been applied on their skin. Wash children’s hands with soap and water to remove any bug spray when they return indoors.
  • 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. Just one cup of water can produce hundreds of mosquitoes; an unused tire containing water can produce thousands of mosquitoes.
  • Clean your gutters and downspouts so that they can drain properly.
  • Remove any water from unused swimming pools, wading pools, boats, planters, trash and recycling bins, tires, and anything else that collects water, and cover them.
  • Remove or treat any shallow water that can accumulate on top of a pool cover. Larvicide treatments, such asMosquito Dunks can be applied to kill immature mosquitoes. This environmentally-friendly product is available at many hardware and garden stores and on-line.
  • Change the water in birdbaths at least two times a week and rinse out birdbaths once a week.
Visit http://www.health.ri.gov/mosquito for additional mosquito prevention tips, videos, and local data. For spraying FAQs, see http://www.health.ri.gov/disease/carriers/mosquitoes/about/spraying/. Rhode Islanders who have questions or concerns about aerial spraying for mosquitoes may call 211 for helpful information. 

Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of WarwickPost.com. Contact him at editor@warwickpost.com with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.