An Exeter man was treated earlier this month for West Nile Virus. The Rhode Island Department of Health announced that the 33-year-old man is the first human case for the state this year.
The man was diagnosed with viral meningitis caused by the West Nile. According to the Dept. of Health, his symptoms began on Sept. 11 and was admitted to South County Hospital two days later. He was released on Sept. 17 and has since been at home recovering.
"This is yet another reminder that this is the time of year when there are infected mosquitoes and Rhode Islanders are at increased risk for exposure to mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile Virus," said Director of Health Michael Fine, MD.
Fine said Rhode Islanders should take precautions to safeguard themselves from these illnesses, such as West Nile and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). So far this year, seven pools of mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile and four pools have tested positive for EEE. Though this is the first human case in Rhode Island, neighboring state Massachusetts has at least three confirmed cases of West Nile. In New Jersey, two West Nile-related deaths have been reported.
The Department of Environmental Management offers a list of precautions people should take to decrease their exposure to mosquitos, which will be around until the first hard frost:
- Dress for protection. Wear long pants, long-sleeve shirts and socks during outdoor evening and early morning activities.
- Use bug spray. Use mosquito repellent with no more than 30 percent DEET during outdoor activities, particularly at dawn, dusk, and evening hours, when mosquitoes are most active. Do not use repellent on infants. Instead, put mosquito netting over playpens and baby carriages.
- Time activities for maximum protection. If possible, minimize outdoor activities between dusk and dawn.
- Evaluate the environment. Be sure all open windows are screened, repair any holes in screens, and fix loose screens. Residents and facility groundskeepers should immediately look for and empty standing water following heavy rain, and ensure rain gutters are clear of debris that might trap water. Remove any standing water around yards and houses by emptying planters, wading pools, trash and recycling bins, and other places where water might accumulate to reduce mosquito breeding. Mosquitoes breed in standing water. Just one cup of standing water can produce hundreds of mosquitoes.