School and town officials throughout Rhode Island are being urged to employ “smart scheduling” of all outdoor activities, including games and practices.
The RI Department of Health (HEALTH) is recommending this action in response to the threat of mosquito-borne illnesses, such as Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile Virus.
“Rhode Island recently saw its first human case of West Nile Fever and has seen some increase in the number of mosquito pools positive for both West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis,” said Michael Fine, MD, director of HEALTH.
“Smart scheduling of outdoor activities and personal protection measures are the best ways for Rhode Islanders to protect themselves from mosquito-borne illness,” Fine said.
Central Barrington is one of the locations found to have mosquitoes carrying EEE. A trap set in Barrington on Sept. 5 produced mosquitoes with EEE.
HEALTH advises that any games and practices scheduled to occur during early morning or dusk hours be rescheduled to earlier in the afternoon (or relocated to an indoor venue), if possible, to help minimize the risk of mosquito bites for players, coaches and spectators.
At a minimum, HEALTH recommends that schools and organizations remind all participants in outdoor activities to protect themselves from mosquito bites with some simple personal protection actions, including:
- Avoid outdoor activities during dawn and dusk. Mosquitoes are most active at this time
- If you must be outside at dawn or dusk, wear an insect repellant with no more than 30 percent DEET
- Wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants when possible to avoid exposing skin to mosquitoes
HEALTH will continue to update school and municipal officials as conditions change. HEALTH recommends that smart scheduling stay in effect for the remainder of the mosquito season, which typically ends around mid-October or the first hard frost.
Visit http://www.health.ri.gov/disease/carriers/mosquitoes/ for additional information about mosquito bite protection.