DEM Announces EEE in South Kingstown - Recommends Residents Remain Vigilant and take Precautions

South Kingstown Town Hall

180 High Street, Wakefield, RI 02879
Phone: (401) 789-9331 Fax: (401) 789-5280

EEE - Warning

News Release
RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade Street, Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462

Contact: Gail Mastrati 222-4700 ext. 2402

Public Urged to be Vigilant to Protect Themselves From Getting Mosquito Bites

PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management announces that test results from a second mosquito pool, or sample, from a trap set at Peckham Farm at the University of Rhode Island has been confirmed positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis. It is the second time this year that EEE has been positively identified in Rhode Island, although it is presumed likely to be present in all areas of the state. The positive EEE result was from a Culex species that bites both birds and humans. In addition, one mosquito pool from a trap set in the Capitol Hill area of Providence has tested positive for the Highlands J virus, a bird disease that does not affect humans. The positive findings came from mosquitoes trapped by DEM staff on September 8 and tested at the RI Department of Health (HEALTH) laboratory. The results were confirmed today. As a result, DEM will continue to set additional mosquito traps in South Kingstown, and will be setting extra mosquito traps in Providence.

"People should be especially vigilant now and continue to take precautions to protect themselves against getting bitten by mosquitoes," noted Alan Gettman, DEM's mosquito abatement coordinator. "This includes wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, particularly at dawn and dusk, using mosquito repellent when mosquitoes are active and when hiking in the woods in warmer weather such as we're experiencing today." Gettman also notes that our neighboring states of Massachusetts and Connecticut continue to find EEE isolations, and that a human case of EEE has been reported in New Hampshire.

Biting activity depends on several conditions. It generally is greatest from dusk to dawn. During the day it decreases in sunny areas at lower temperatures and increases in shady areas at higher temperatures. Biting activity also generally increases with high humidity and with low wind.

Personal protection is the first line of defense against mosquitoes that can carry diseases such as West Nile Virus and EEE and is by far the most effective way of avoiding infection. People should routinely use mosquito repellent and cover up when mosquito-biting activity is greatest. They should place mosquito netting over playpens and carriages outside, and be sure that screens are in good repair. Mosquito repellent should contain no more than 30 percent DEET, and it should not be used on infants.

This year, to date in Rhode Island, no mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile Virus, and two mosquito pools have tested positive for EEE. West Nile Virus and EEE have been found in mosquito samples in New England states, including neighboring Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Mosquitoes in Rhode Island are trapped every week statewide by DEM staff and tested at the RI Department of Health laboratory. DEM will normally report mosquito test results once a week on a routine basis, with additional reports as necessary. Routine test results from remaining pools of mosquitoes trapped during the week of August 24 will be included in this week's announcement.

For online information about mosquito-borne diseases, go to DEM's website,, and click on "Public Health Updates", or go to the HEALTH website,, and click on "E" (Eastern Equine Encephalitis) or "W" ((West Nile Virus)) under "Health Topics".

CDC Technical Fact Sheet: Eastern Equine Encephalitis


Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) is a member of the genus Alphavirus, family Togaviridae. EEEV is closely related to Western Equine Encephalitis virus and Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus.


EEEV is maintained in a cycle between Culiseta melanura mosquitoes and avian hosts in freshwater hardwood swamps. Cs. melanura is not an important vector of EEEV to humans because it feeds almost exclusively on birds. Transmission to humans requires mosquito species capable of creating a “bridge” between infected birds and uninfected mammals such as some Aedes, Coquillettidia, and Culex species.

Geographic Distribution:

An average of 6 human cases of EEE are reported each year in the United States. Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, and New Jersey typically have the largest number of cases. EEEV transmission is most common in and around freshwater hardwood swamps in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast states and the Great Lakes region.

Risk factors:

All residents of and visitors to areas where virus activity has been identified are at risk of infection with EEEV, particularly persons who engage in outdoor work and recreational activities in these areas. Persons over age 50 and younger than age 15 are at greatest risk of severe disease (encephalitis) following infection. EEEV infection is thought to confer life-long immunity against re-infection.
Incubation period:
Usually 4-10 days


EEEV infection can result in one of two types of illness, systemic or encephalitic (EEE). Systemic infection has an abrupt onset and is characterized by chills, fever, malaise, arthralgia, and myalgia. The illness lasts 1 to 2 weeks; recovery is complete when there is no central nervous system involvement. In infants, the encephalitic form is characterized by abrupt onset; in older children and adults, encephalitis is manifested after a few days of systemic illness. Signs and symptoms in encephalitic patients are fever, headache, irritability, restlessness, drowsiness, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, cyanosis, convulsions, and coma.


No specific antiviral treatment for EEEV infections is available. Patients with suspected EEE should be hospitalized, appropriate serologic and other diagnostic tests ordered, and supportive treatment provided.

Mortality rate:

Approximately a third of those who develop EEE die. Many of those who survive will have mild to severe permanent neurologic damage. Many patients with severe sequelae die within a few years.


Prevent mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or preventive drug.

•Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus on exposed skin and/or clothing. The repellent/insecticide permethrin can be used on clothing to protect through several washes. Always follow the directions on the package.
•Wear long sleeves and pants when weather permits.
•Have secure screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
•Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets, barrels and other containers. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children's wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren't being used.

EEE Fact Sheet.doc33 KB
EEE Question and Answers.doc33 KB
  Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click here to get the FREE plugin.
Town of South Kingstown, Rhode Island
180 High Street | Wakefield, RI 02879
Tel. (401) 789-9331 | Fax. (401) 789-5280

Copyright © 2000-2014 Town of South Kingstown. All rights reserved.