EEE reported on Block Island

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 4:45pm

A positive test for eastern equine encephalitis has been reported on Block Island. 

The deadly mosquito-borne virus EEE has been reported in various locales around the State of Rhode Island and in neighboring Massachusetts  A 50-year old West Warwick man died from the virus on Sunday.

Bill McCombe, co-Director of Block Island’s Emeegency Management program, contacted The Times about the positive test at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept  13. McCombe said that the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management alerted him regarding the positive test, which was discovered at the Boy Scout Camp, which is located off Connecticut Avenue.

McCombe urges the public to take precautions when venturing outdoors during dawn and dusk. That means wearing long-sleeved clothing and applying insect repellant.

The Times reported in this week’s edition that Block Island had tested negative for EEE. ““That’s Murhpy’s Law,” said McCombe. 

McCombe urged island residents and guests to “be vigilant and take precautions, particularly at dusk and dawn. We will continue to work closely with the DEM and the Rhode Island Department of Health.”

The DEM has issued the following guidelines for mosquito prevention:

o Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
o Use EPA-approved bug spray with one of the following active ingredients: DEET (20-30% strength); picaridin, IR3535; and oil of lemon eucalyptus or paramenthane. Always read the label and follow all directions and precautions. Protect yourself by wearing bug spray!
o Do not consume any harvested deer that appears unhealthy. Any harvested animal that is believed to be unhealthy should be reported to DEM’s Division of Law Enforcement at 401-222-3070.
o Wear appropriate personal protective equipment when field dressing all game. At a minimum, this includes rubber or nitrile gloves and clothing that covers any part of the body that could be exposed to blood or other fluids.
o According to both the US Centers for Disease Control and USDA Wildlife Services, there is negligible risk to hunters for contracting EEE from field dressing, handling venison, or consuming venison if proper personal protective equipment is worn while dressing, and the venison is properly cooked. dressing, and the venison is properly cooked.
o There is little or no risk from exposure to the brain or spinal cord of a deer infected with EEE, however there is a high risk for rabies transmission from brain and spinal cord tissue exposure through an open wound or mucous membrane (eyes, nose, mouth). Therefore, anyone who is
decapitating or removing the antler cap from a deer during the time when the virus may be present (2 weeks after a killing frost) should wear eye protection and avoid any contact with brain or spinal cord tissue, or spinal fluid, with their eyes or any other mucous membrane.

Learn more about this developing story in The Block Island Times.