West Nile virus has been found in a mosquito sample collected in Rhode Island for the first time this summer, state environmental officials said.
A mosquito trapped July 29 in Cranston tested positive for the virus, the state Department of Environmental Management said in a statement Thursday.
No mosquito samples this year have tested positive for eastern equine encephalitis, another mosquito-borne disease.
The finding was not unexpected, given that West Nile has been found in multiple samples collected in neighboring Connecticut and Massachusetts, indicating that the virus has "established seasonal activity in our area," the department said.
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Because the virus is expected to become more prevalent as the season progresses, state environmental and health officials urged residents to limit their exposure to mosquitoes until the first hard frost.
That includes eliminating mosquito breeding areas; ensuring windows and doors have screens; avoiding outdoor activities at sunrise and sundown when mosquitoes are most active; and wearing shirts with long sleeves and long pants and using insect repellant when outdoors.