The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) today announced Rhode Island’s first human case of Jamestown Canyon Virus (JCV) and the State’s second human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in 2021. Both are spread to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito.

“Although we are no longer in mosquito season in Rhode Island, these recently confirmed cases of JCV and WNV are a reminder that a few simple precautions can help you stay healthy and safe when you are outdoors spending quality time with family and friends,” said Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health in a statement. “And while mosquitoes may no longer be biting after the first hard frost, Rhode Islanders are reminded that we are not ‘out of the woods’ with ticks, which can continue to bite and spread diseases like Lyme Disease, even in winter.”

According to RIDOH, the person who tested positive for Jamestown Canyon Virus is a resident of Kent County in their 50s. This person started experiencing symptoms in mid-September and was subsequently hospitalized. Due to the progression of symptoms, tests were submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in mid-October and Jamestown Canyon Virus was confirmed. This person has been discharged from the hospital and is recovering.

Jamestown Canyon Virus (JCV) is a mosquito-borne pathogen that circulates widely in North America, primarily between deer and mosquitoes, but can also infect humans. Human cases can occur from late spring through mid-fall. People can be infected and not develop any symptoms, or only develop very mild symptoms. Early symptoms can include fever, muscle aches, headaches, and fatigue. Rarely, more serious central nervous system disease, including meningitis or encephalitis, can occur.

This is Rhode Island’s first human case of Jamestown Canyon Virus since 2013, according to RIOH. 

The person who tested positive for West Nile Virus is a resident of Washington County in their 60s. This person started experiencing symptoms in the first week of September and tests were submitted to CDC in mid-October as symptoms progressed. This person was not hospitalized.

Common symptoms of West Nile Virus include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash. Although many people who are infected with West Nile Virus show no symptoms, symptoms last for some people for several days or several weeks.

This was Rhode Island’s second human case of West Nile Virus in 2021. Connecticut has confirmed six West Nile Virus cases in humans and Massachusetts has confirmed 10 human cases this year. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has confirmed six positive findings for West Nile Virus in mosquito traps this year. (No mosquito samples in Rhode Island have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis – or EEE – which is another mosquito-borne illness.)

For more information on mosquito-borne diseases, visit health.ri.gov/mosquito. Information on Jamestown Canyon Virus may be found at https://www.cdc.gov/jamestown-canyon/index.html and West Nile Virus information may be found at https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What's Up Newp. He was born and raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Coventry High School. He serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors for Potter League for Animals. Ryan also is currently the Senior Editor - North America for Mountain News, publisher of OnTheSnow. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).