The mosquito-borne disease eastern equine encephalitis has been detected in Rhode Island for the first time this season, state environmental officials said Friday.
The mosquito pool producing the positive sample of the potentially deadly disease consisted of 50 individual members of a species of mosquito that bites birds almost exclusively. They were trapped Aug. 11 in Chapman Swamp in Westerly.
The disease has been detected in mosquitoes at the site several times in the past.
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The other 102 pools of mosquitoes collected Aug. 11 all tested negative for EEE and West Nile virus.
Results from 147 pools collected Monday are still pending.
There have been no human cases of EEE in Rhode Island this year. Last year there were three human cases, including one death. Massachusetts has confirmed three human cases this season.
Health officials recommend using mosquito repellent outdoors, wearing long sleeves and pants, and avoiding outdoor activity during the dusk and dawn hours when mosquitoes are most active.