Mosquito fight is on across R.I.

PROVIDENCE —State officials said Wednesday that Eastern Equine Encephalitis had been detected in a deer in Richmond, the second such case in Rhode Island during the current outbreak of the mosquito-borne virus. The state Department of Environmental Management reported the first deer infection a day earlier in Coventry.

With deer season opening Sept. 15, DEM said it was emailing about 1,200 hunters who have recently purchased 2019 deer licenses to offer personal precautionary information when field dressing animals. EEE is not considered to be a threat to the state’s deer populations. Deer, like horses, cannot transmit EEE to humans, but the transmission of EEE to deer reinforces that 2019 is a higher-than-average risk year for mosquito-borne disease, DEM spokesman Michael J. Healey said.

DEM and the state Department of Health also provided more details of the aerial mosquito spraying conducted Tuesday night  over parts of Westerly, Charlestown, and Hopkinton. Overall, the state treated parts of 21 communities over three nights with a pesticide formulated to kill adult mosquitoes. The flight crew used the pesticide, called Anvil 10+10, at a low concentration, dispersing a total of 556 gallons across 115,179 total acres, meaning that 6/10 of an ounce, aerosolized, was used to treat an acre. That’s the equivalent of slightly less than four teaspoons per acre.

EEE is a rare but serious illness that spreads when people are bitten by infected mosquitoes. The health department  announced Sept. 9 that the individual who had contracted the state’s first human case of EEE this year had died the day before. It was Rhode Island’s first fatal human EEE case since 2007.

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