Updated: Monday, 16 Aug 2010, 10:14 AM EDT
Published : Monday, 16 Aug 2010, 10:06 AM EDT
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - A Rhode Island resident is in critical condition after contracting Eastern Equine Encephalitis.
Health officials say the patient is in his twenties, and is a resident of Newport County. They said he likely contracted EEE while visiting Southeastern Massachusetts.
The onset of the victim's symptoms occurred on August 5, prior to that evening's start of aerial spraying in southeastern Massachusetts . EEE Symptoms usually present themselves within two to 10 days of exposure, health officials said.
The Massachusetts Department of Health says the aerial spraying in southeastern Massachusetts conducted from August 5 – 7 has reduced the overall mosquito population in southeastern Massachusetts by 80 percent and the number of mammal-biting mosquitoes by 90 percent.
Health officials are now warning residents to be vigilant to avoid mosquito bites , especially during the peak hours from dusk until dawn.
If you're going to be outside during the peak hours you should be wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks to help keep mosquitoes away from your skin as well as insect repellent with DEET.
Experts also say it is important to keep mosquitos and their eggs way from your home by draining standing water, and to keep them out by installing tightly-fitting screens on windows and doors.
The hospital where the infected man is being treated and his name have not been released at this time.
The last time a human tested positive for EEE in Rhode Island was in 1998.