New In This Update
- A 75 year-old Harrison (Hudson County) woman has become the eighth
state resident this season confirmed to have been infected with the
West Nile virus (WNV). She is currently in a good state of health and
has returned to work.
- The woman, who has a cardiac condition, was admitted in mid-August
to West Hudson Hospital with symptoms that included fever, nausea and
a headache. She regularly spent a great deal of time outdoors, and had
traveled to the West Coast and the Jersey Shore just prior to her hospitalization.
Preliminary infectious disease tests on the patient were negative. She
was transferred to St. Michael's Hospital in Newark for additional testing
related to her heart condition. Her health subsequently improved and
she was discharged in late August. Blood tests at a private lab, and
in mid-September at the DHSS lab, showed the patient had been exposed
to WNV, but were inconclusive as to whether the patient was infected
this season or in a previous year. More comprehensive tests conducted
at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed late
last week that the infection was from this season.
- In total, 106 residents have been approved for WNV testing and 97
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 been discovered.
- To date, 8 tests were positive, 74 were negative and 15 are pending.
- 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 and Other Bird and Small Mammal Testing
- To date, 1,561 birds, mostly crows, have been accepted for testing
by the Department of Health and Senior Services' Public Health and Environmental
Laboratory. Of those tested, 1,071 crows found in 20 counties have been
confirmed positive for the presence of WNV. Positive crows have been
found in Atlantic (3), Bergen (119), Burlington (112), Camden (179),
Cape May (7), Cumberland (5), Essex (37), Gloucester (30), Hudson (19),
Hunterdon (13), Mercer (17), Middlesex (142), Monmouth (186), Morris
(36), Ocean (17), Passaic (40), Salem (7), Somerset (45), Union (52),
and Warren (5) Counties.
- The department has also received 1,151 bird samples (mostly crows)
deemed unsatisfactory for testing and has been notified of 1,900 dead
or ill birds (mostly crows) not submitted for testing due to their condition.
- Monmouth County has maintained a sentinel chicken program this season.
To date, 5 chickens have tested positive for WNV in testing conducted
by the Center for Vector-Borne Diseases at the University of Rhode Island.
- 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 80 animals (71 hawks, 3 falcons, 2 owls, 2 wild
turkeys and 2 gray squirrels), with 1 positive and 56 negative results
and 23 tests pending.
- To date, 322 mosquito pools collected in Atlantic (9), Bergen (65),
Burlington (16), Camden (48), Cape May (3), Essex (6), Hudson (8), Hunterdon
(7), Mercer (1), Middlesex (25), Monmouth (49), Morris (15), Ocean (6),
Passaic (25), Salem (2), Somerset (8), Sussex (7), Union (14), and Warren
(8) Counties have tested positive for the presence of WNV. In total,
4,643 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
- 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, 24 horses have tested positive for the presence of WNV. For
more information, visit the Department of Agriculture website at www.state.nj.us/agriculture.
Additional Information & Advisories
- While the risk of WNV infection has been greatly reduced with the
arrival of shorter days and colder temperatures, the risk will return
in the spring and people can take steps now and next year to eliminate
mosquito breeding areas around their homes and protect themselves and
their families from infection.
- Among the personal precautions residents can take now are such measures
as eliminating standing water on their own property (such as clearing
clogged gutters, draining flower pots, recycling old car tires, etc.),
and repairing window and door screens. In the spring, summer, and fall
residents can spray insect repellent on their clothing and exposed skin
in accordance with labeling directions, wear long sleeved shirts and
pants when outdoors, or curb outdoor activities at dawn, dusk and during
- 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 control agencies.
- For more information on West Nile virus, visit the state's WNV Resources
webpage at www.state.nj.us/governor/westnile.