Test Results as of 8/24/00
- There have been no confirmed human cases of West Nile virus
(WNV) infection in New Jersey. The virus has been confirmed this
year in birds and mosquitoes.
- Blood and/or spinal fluid samples from 16 residents have
been or are in the process of being tested for the presence of
WNV. To date, samples from 5 residents have tested negative and
the other test results are still pending. These individuals
either had symptoms or signs that met the established WNV testing
criteria or exhibited most of the symptoms and are from counties
where dead crows with the virus have been discovered.
- Human testing for WNV is now being conducted at the New
Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services' Public Health
and Environmental Laboratory in Trenton. Samples collected
earlier this season are being or were tested for WNV by the
federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or by
public health labs in other states.
- The department has also been contacted by doctors of more
than 2 dozen patients with symptoms that did not meet all WNV
testing criteria. The physicians were given the option of
sending samples of their patients' blood to private laboratories
for analysis using the St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE) screening
test. Since SLE and WNV are closely related viruses, a WNV case
will most likely react to a SLE test. The department has not
been notified of any positive SLE tests to date.
Crow, Hawk & Falcon Testing
- To date, 322 birds (321 crows and a cockatiel) found in 10
counties have tested positive for the presence of WNV. Positive
birds have been found in Bergen (84), Essex (39), Hudson (36),
Mercer (1), Middlesex (68), Monmouth (29), Morris (3), Passaic
(27), Somerset (1) and Union (34) Counties. The tests were
conducted at the Department of Health and Senior Services' lab in
Trenton: the CDC confirmed early season results. A total of 859
crows have been tested this year.
Mosquito & House Sparrow Testing
- Four pools of mosquitoes collected in Bergen County in late
July by the Rutgers Mosquito Research and Control Unit and
analyzed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) as part of a research project have tested
positive for the presence of WNV. Bergen County has since
intensified control activities and adult mosquito populations
continue to be low.
- For the research project, being conducted by the CDC and the
United States Geological Survey with the cooperation of state and
local agencies, more than 10,500 mosquitoes were separated into
groups of 1-50 by like-species and tested. The positive pools
included Culex pipiens and Culex restuans mosquitoes.
- In addition to mosquitoes, the CDC also analyzed more than
1,000 house sparrows. No sparrows with WNV were discovered in
- To date, 705 mosquito pools collected by the Rutgers
Mosquito Research and Control Unit and tested by the Department
of Health and Senior Services for the presence of the WNV have
been negative. Samples have been submitted from all 21 counties.
Sentinel Chicken Testing
- Blood samples taken weekly from sentinel chicken flocks
placed in all 21 counties and tested by the New Jersey Department
of Agriculture for the presence of WNV have all been negative to
Additional Information & Advisories
- New Jersey residents can take personal precautions to
minimize their WNV exposure risk. Such measures include spraying
insect repellent on their clothing and exposed skin in accordance
with labeling directions and wearing long sleeved shirts and
pants when outdoors. Residents can also curb outdoor activities
at dawn, dusk and during the evening. Residents should also
eliminate standing water on their own property that can serve as
a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
- The West Nile virus, an arboviral disease, is transmitted
through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by
feeding on an infected bird. WNV is not directly transmitted from
birds to humans or from person to person. WNV infection generally
causes no symptoms or just mild, flu-like symptoms; however, the
elderly are at higher risk of more severe disease.
- The West Nile virus was first isolated and identified in the
Western Hemisphere by the CDC in September 1999 in birds found
dead in New York City and Westchester County. The virus was
responsible for 62 human cases of encephalitis in New York State
and seven deaths. No New Jersey resident was diagnosed with WNV
in 1999 and no state resident has tested positive for WNV in
- New Jersey's WNV surveillance, control and prevention
efforts involve the coordinated efforts of a number of federal,
state and local agencies. These include the New Jersey
Departments of Health and Senior Services, Environmental
Protection, and Agriculture, the federal Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC), the State Mosquito Control
Commission, the Rutgers Mosquito Research and Control Unit, and
local health and mosquito control agencies.
- For more information on West Nile virus, visit the State
Department of Environmental Protection's website at
www.state.nj.us/dep/mosquito, the State Department of
Agriculture's site at www.state.nj.us/agriculture, or the federal
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's site at