Mosquito fight is on across R.I.

WESTERLY — Westerly and Chariho high schools are adjusting their athletic schedules as a result of mosquitoes testing positive for EEE and West Nile Virus.

Westerly athletic director Jamey Vetelino announced the move on the athletic department's Twitter feed Thursday morning. Chariho AD Mike Shiels confirmed the decision Thursday morning.

Vetelino and Shiels said the changes are being made after a conference call Thursday morning with the state Department of Health and school officials across the state.

Stonington High made a similar decision last week.

"It is not a mandate, but since we are in a critical area, the decision was made," Vetelino said.

Shiels said Chariho took action after a conversation with Principal Craig Mackenzie and Superintendent of Schools Barry Ricci.

"The Department of Health recommended a half-hour before sunset. We thought it best to follow that recommendation," Shiels said. "That will change as the sun starts setting earlier."

All Westerly night games will be rescheduled until the first hard frost occurs, Vetelino said. The first hard frost typically occurs in mid-October.

Shiels said he will make schedule changes through September immediately and start looking at October sometime next week.

The start time for Westerly's season-opening football game against Chariho at Augeri Field on Friday has been changed to 4:30 p.m.

Mosquito samples collected by the state Department of Environmental Management and tested by the Department of Health have detected the presence of Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus in Westerly.

A state resident who contracted EEE died on Sept. 8. It was the first fatal EEE case in the state since 2007.

EEE has been detected in three mosquito pools in Westerly. Two positive deer detections, including one in Richmond, have also been reported by DEM. A horse in Westerly was also found to have EEE.

EEE was also found in Central Falls, and West Nile Virus in Tiverton.

Last week, the Department of Health recommended that games, practices and other outdoor activities scheduled for early morning and dusk hours be rescheduled.

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