Health Advisories/Updates

Mpox Virus Advisory: June 1, 2023

Although Rhode Island has not reported any new Mpox cases since February 2023, the spring and summer season could lead to increased Mpox transmission as people gather for festivals and other events. As reported in the May 15 CDC Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Update: Potential Risk for New Mpox Cases, Chicago has experienced a new cluster of Mpox cases. The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) has increased its testing capacity at the Rhode Island State Health Laboratories (RISHL).

Eligible patients are encouraged to get vaccinated.

  • Anyone of any sexual orientation or gender identity who is at risk for mpox can get vaccinated in Rhode Island, but the vaccine is recommended for certain high-risk groups. Free JYNNEOS mpox vaccination is available at select clinics and pharmacies in Rhode Island, as well as upcoming community vaccination clinics. See RIDOH’s website for a list of mpox vaccination locations, eligibility, and recommendations for high risk groups.
  • Patients who received one dose should be encouraged to complete the two-dose series. Patients do not need to restart the series if they previously received a first dose.
  • There are no recommendations to vaccinate unvaccinated patients who have been infected and are fully recovered at this time as natural infection has been shown to induce a robust immune response.

E-cigarette or Vaping Product Use Associated Lung Illness (EVALI): 1/20/2020 update

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is continuing to provide updates on the number of lung illness (EVALI) cases that are connected to vaping. In its latest advisory, the agency points to new evidence that devices containing THC are part of the problem. 

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical in marijuana that produces a psychological “high.” The agency says that e-cigarette devices that contain THC were linked to 82 percent of EVALI cases as of January 14,2020. Overall, 33 percent of people who developed EVALI reported that they only used a THC-containing device before becoming ill. 

With these numbers in mind, the CDC has adjusted its advisory to focus more on warning consumers to avoid THC-containing e-cigarettes.

“The EVALI outbreak primarily affects young adults, is driven by use of THC-containing products from informal sources and is strongly linked to vitamin E acetate,” the agency stated. “CDC and FDA recommend that people not use THC-containing e-cigarette, or vaping, products, particularly from informal sources like friends, or family, or in-person or online dealers.”

“THC use has been associated with a wide range of health effects, particularly with prolonged frequent use. The best way to avoid potentially harmful effects is to not use THC-containing e-cigarette, or vaping, products.”

We urge all RWU community members to avoid the use of e-cigarette and other vaping products due to the harmful effects. 

The Dangers of Vaping

E-Cigarette Use/Vaping Is Not Safe

E-cigarettes are electronic devices that produce an aerosol by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavorings, and other harmful chemicals.  They are sometimes called e-cigs, e-hookahs, mods, and vape pens.  Using an e-cigarette is also called "vaping" or "juuling".  E-cigarettes can be used to deliver marijuana and other drugs.    

Users inhale the aerosol into their lungs.  Bystanders can also breath in the aerosol when the user exhales it into the air.  Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine which is highly addictive and can harm brain development in children and young adults.  All Juul e-cigarettes have a high level of nicotine.  A single Juul pod contains as much nicotine as 20 cigarettes.

Do not assume that prior use of e-cigarettes without symptoms or illness indicates that it is safe to continue use.  Inform your health care provider if you have been using e-cigarette products so you can be thoroughly assessed. 

We urge any individual  having trouble discontinuing use of nicotine containing products to contact their health care provider for assistance.  Health Services offers smoking cessation services to students eligible to be seen.  Tobacco cessation resources are available at RI Department of Health.


Mosquito-borne Illnesses:  Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) Virus and West Nile Virus:

Both EEE and West Nile Virus have been identified in mosquitos in Rhode Island and surrounding states.  It is normal to identify these viruses in our region at this time of year.  We expect this cycle to occur every year in the late summer through the first hard frost.  These viruses are transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito.  Human cases resulting in encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) are extremely rare.  The chances of anyone individual contracting encephalitis is remote, but not impossible.

The most effective way to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses is to protect yourself from mosquito bites.  We recommend that all community members take steps to minimize their risk of exposure to mosquitos.  The personal prevention measures outlined below are from the CDC and RI Department of Health:

  • Limit outdoor activities during peak mosquito times (dusk to dawn) and avoid areas that have lots of mosquitos.
  • Use EPA approved insect repellent containing DEET on exposed skin and clothing when outdoors.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants
  • Have intact screens on windows and doors or keep windows and doors closed to keep mosquitos out.
  • Eliminate mosquito breeding sites by emptying any standing water in outdoor containers.

Contact Health Services at 401-254-3156 with any questions or concerns.


Each year in the U.S., approximately 200,000 people are hospitalized from influenza complications, and over 36,000 people die.  Influenza is a respiratory illness with sudden onset of symptoms that include high fever, runny nose, body aches, headaches and cough.  

Flu season usually starts in October and lasts until March.  For most people, the illness is mild and resolves in 5-7 days.  Young children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with chronic disease (asthma, diabetes, cancer) or weak immune systems are at high risk of developing complications from the flu.

On college campuses, the flu can be very serious.  Close living quarters, communal bathrooms, and high social activity make college campuses ideal settings for the spread of flu viruses.  Approximately 1 in 4 college students will get the flu.  So protect yourself and others by getting the flu vaccine. 

Infection control interventions aimed against COVID-19 transmission has substantially reduced the incidence of influenza in the 2020-2021 season. To date, we have only had one case of influenza on campus.  

Infection Control Recommendations to protect you from getting sick:                      

  • Get a flu shot
  • Wash hands frequently and use the alcohol based sanitizers located around campus
  • Avoid those you are ill
  • Clean common areas in your room with an anti-bacterial cleaner (bleach wipes are great)
  • Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue, not directly into your hands, and wash hands immediately
  • Avoid sharing food, utensils, cups and water bottles

For more information on the vaccine as well as tips on influenza prevention and care, please visit