1 NJ Resident Dead, 8 Infected by West Nile Virus in the State

One New Jersey resident has died from West Nile Virus, and eight others are infected, according to the New Jersey State Department of Health.

The NJ DOH reports that three cases were reported in Middlesex County, four in Bergen including one death and one in Camden counties.

West Nile is a disease that people can acquire through the bite of a mosquito that has fed on an infected bird. WNV is not directly transmitted from birds to humans. August and September are when most WNV cases are reported in the state historically.

Based on ongoing surveillance, current WNV activity in mosquitoes is also high, with significantly more WNV-positive mosquito pools identified this year compared to five-year averages, according to the DOH.

The best way to prevent West Nile Virus is to take precautions to protect yourself from mosquito bites,” said Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Kaitlan Baston.

“Using an insect repellant and avoiding being outdoors especially between dusk and dawn when mosquitos are especially active are some of the steps residents can take to stay safe from mosquito-borne illnesses.”

“Speak with a health care provider if you are concerned about WNV, particularly if you are experiencing neurological symptoms such as severe headache, confusion, seizures, weakness, and/or high fevers.”

With continued rainfall and warm weather, we can expect the mosquito season and the potential for disease transmission to extend well into the fall, DEP Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette said.

“Managing our mosquito population, through our mosquito control agencies and individual efforts to eliminate suitable habitats for the insects, plays an important role in protecting public health. Get rid of standing water in your yard and cover or turn over any empty containers that can hold water for several days,” he said.

For many people, the virus causes asymptomatic infection or a mild to moderate febrile illness. About one in 150 persons will develop a serious, sometimes fatal neurological illness, with symptoms such as severe headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis. People over 50 years of age and people with weak immune systems are at greater risk of developing severe illness.

For testing information head to www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/vectorborne.shtml.

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