Mosquito-Borne Disease Information for Healthcare Providers

The Department of Health is committed to helping physicians appropriately diagnosis West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), Zika Virus and other mosquito borne diseases. We conduct seasonal surveillance for West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and other arboviral neuroinvasive disease.

What You Should Do

  • Maintain a high index of suspicion for an arboviral disease all year long. The elderly and anyone who has a weakened immune system are at higher risk for neuroinvasive disease from WNV or EEE. Pregnant women are of particular concern for Zika Virus due to the possible links between Zika Virus infection and poor pregnancy outcomes.
  • Report suspected diagnosis of any patient you are attending with clinical diagnosis of:
    • Viral Encephalitis
    • Aseptic or suspect viral meningitis (CSF pleocytosis of 10 cells or more) in persons 17 years of age or older
    • Guillain - Barré syndrome
    • Zika Virus
  • Refer to Clinical Specimen Submission Guidance for WNV/EEE or Clinical Specimen Submission Guidance for Zika Virus before submitting testing to the State Laboratory. All Rhode Island licensed hospital and commercial labs have systems in place to handle and transport such specimens.
  • Monitor (but do not report to the State Laboratory for diagnostic testing) mild, non neuro-invasive illness such as fever, headache, and a history of mosquito bites. Order such outpatient tests to a commercial laboratory.

What We Do

A nurse from the Center for Acute Infectious Diseases Epidemiology will track specimens from cases (CSF, acute, and convalescent sera) and assure transfer to the State Laboratory. Free testing will be done for patients who meet criteria. Positive results on the arbovirus panel testing (IgM on serum and/or CSF) will be communicated by phone to the ordering physician within five days for WNV/EEE or within two to four weeks for Zika Virus.


  • Division of Infectious Disease
    401-222-2488 (fax)