Test Results as of 9/21/01
New In This Update
- Additional crow and mosquitoes test positive.
- Testing completed by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services'
Public Health and Environmental Laboratories has detected the presence of
West Nile virus (WNV) in blood and spinal fluid samples drawn from four state
residents this season.
- In total, 70 residents have been approved for WNV testing and 65 have accepted.
(Click here to view list). Blood and/or spinal
fluid samples from these individuals have been or are in the process of being
tested for the presence of WNV. 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 and/or mosquitoes with the virus have
To date, 4 tests were positive, 28 were negative and 33 are pending.
New Jersey's first WNV positive case of the season is a 72-year old Bergenfield
woman. Testing on serum and spinal fluid samples completed Aug. 29 by the
New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services laboratories were consistent
with the WNV diagnosis. Final confirmation of this case was made by the
federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier in September.
The patient was admitted to Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck at the end of
July with symptoms consistent with WNV infection, including a fever greater
than 100 degrees, muscle weakness and malaise. While her mental status has
improved, she is currently receiving rehabilitative therapy.
- The state's other diagnosed cases include a 72-year old man from Camden
City (Camden County), a 66-year old man from Edison Township (Middlesex),
and a 78-year old woman from Westfield Township (Union). All three patients
were hospitalized with symptoms consistent with WNV infection, including fever
and altered mental status. Their conditions improved and all three have since
been discharged. The Westfield resident is currently receiving rehabilitative
therapy. The Camden man was admitted to Cooper Hospital on August 23; the
Edison man to JFK Medical Center on August 31; and the Westfield woman to
Overlook Hospital on September 5, 2001.
Human testing for WNV is being conducted at the New Jersey Department of
Health and Senior Services' Public Health and Environmental Laboratory in
Trenton and at public health labs in other states. Testing results are sent
to the CDC for confirmation.
Doctors of patients with symptoms that do not meet WNV testing criteria
have 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, 1,410 birds, mostly crows, have been accepted for testing by the
Department of Health and Senior Services' Public Health and Environmental
Laboratory. Of those tested, 914 crows found in 20 counties have been confirmed
positive for the presence of WNV. Positive crows have been found in Atlantic
(2), Bergen (92), Burlington (93), Camden (171), Cape May (7), Cumberland
(2), Essex (30), Gloucester (19), Hudson (19), Hunterdon (7), Mercer (9),
Middlesex (131), Monmouth (158), Morris (28), Ocean (8), Passaic (36), Salem
(6), Somerset (43), Union (50), and Warren (3) Counties
The department has also received 928 bird samples (mostly crows) deemed
unsatisfactory for testing and has been notified of 896 dead or ill birds
(mostly crows) not submitted for testing due to their condition.
The Division of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Environmental Protection,
is also conducting avian and small mammal testing for WNV. To date, the
division has tested 36 animals (31 hawks, 1 falcon, 2 owl and 2 gray squirrels),
with 27 negative results and 9 tests pending.
To date, 284 mosquito pools collected in Atlantic (8), Bergen (49), Burlington
(9), Camden (44), Cape May (3), Essex (6), Hudson (8), Hunterdon (7), Mercer
(1), Middlesex (23), Monmouth (47), Morris (11), Ocean (6), Passaic (24),
Salem (2), Somerset (7), Sussex (7), Union (14), and Warren (8) Counties
have tested positive for the presence of WNV. In total, 3,297 mosquito pools
have been tested.
The U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine-North's
testing lab has tested 186 mosquito pools collected on military property
in New Jersey. All tests to date have been negative for the presence of
- Equine testing is conducted by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture's
animal health laboratory in Trenton and positive results are sent to the National
Veterinary Services Lab (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa for confirmation. To date, one
horse has tested positive for the presence of WNV. For more information, visit
the Department of Agriculture www.state.nj.us/agriculture.
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.
Windows screens should also be used and kept in good repair.
- 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.
- In 2000, a total of six New Jersey residents became ill and one died due
to WNV infection. The virus was also detected in mosquitoes, horses, crows
and other birds in 20 of the state's 21 counties. The virus was detected for
the first time in the Western Hemisphere in September 1999, in birds found
in New York City and Westchester County
- New Jersey's WNV surveillance, control and prevention activities 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 CDC, the State Mosquito Control Commission,
the Rutgers Mosquito Research and Control Unit, and local health and mosquito
- For more information on WNV, visit the New Jersey State homepage at www.state.nj.us
and click on West Nile Virus.