New In This Update
- Three more state residents who developed symptoms consistent with
West Nile virus (WNV) infection in 2001 have been confirmed for the
presence of the virus by the federal Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC). The cases include:
- An 81-year old man from Cranford who was admitted to Union Hospital
on Sept. 12, 2001, with symptoms that included fever, chills, headache,
neck pain, muscle weakness, nausea and altered mental status. He is
currently recovered. Following testing by a private lab, the New Jersey
Department of Health and Senior Services' lab conducted tests on an
initial blood sample in late September 2001 and on a convalescent sample
in mid-January: those tests were confirmed last week by the CDC.
- A 34-year old woman from Hillside who became ill Sept. 22, 2001,
and was admitted to Union Hospital the following day, presenting with
symptoms that included fever, headache, vomiting and malaise. She was
discharged within a week and although her condition has improved, she
reports residual lethargy, leg pain, headache and occasional nausea.
Following testing by a private lab, the department's lab conducted tests
on an initial blood sample in November 2001 and on a convalescent sample
in mid-January: those tests were confirmed last week by the CDC.
- A 54-year old man from Paterson admitted to St. Joseph's Hospital
on Sept. 27, 2001, with symptoms that included fever and muscle weakness.
His condition deteriorated and he needed ventilator support. He was
subsequently discharged and is currently residing in a nursing home.
Prior to his illness, he was in good health. The DHSS was notified of
this potential case Nov. 1, 2001. Testing of spinal fluid and initial
and convalescent blood samples was completed in the DHSS lab in late
December: the CDC confirmed those tests last week.
- The late confirmations of these cases had no impact on mosquito control
activities in 2001. Suspected cases were posted on the department's
website to enable local mosquito control agencies to determine what
if any action needed to be taken at that time without waiting for initial
or confirmatory testing. In addition, due to our mobility and the fact
that most people infected with WNV either do not become ill or develop
only mild symptoms, humans are a far less reliable indicator of WNV
activity than crows.
- In total, 110 residents were approved for WNV testing and 101 accepted
in 2001 (Click here to view list). Blood
and/or spinal fluid samples from these individuals were 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, 12 tests were positive, 88 were negative, and 1 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.
Crow, Hawk & Falcon and Other Bird and Small Mammal Testing
- In 2001, 1,553 birds, mostly crows, were accepted for testing by the
Department of Health and Senior Services' Public Health and Environmental
Laboratory. Of those tested, 1,073 crows found in 20 counties have been
confirmed positive for the presence of WNV. Positive crows have been
found in Atlantic (3), Bergen (118), Burlington (115), Camden (179),
Cape May (7), Cumberland (6), Essex (38), Gloucester (30), Hudson (18),
Hunterdon (11), Mercer (17), Middlesex (142), Monmouth (183), Morris
(37), Ocean (17), Passaic (41), Salem (7), Somerset (45), Union (53),
and Warren (6) Counties. Sussex, which submitted only 4 birds for testing,
is the only county where the virus was not detected in birds this season.
The department also received 1,152 bird samples (mostly crows) deemed
unsatisfactory for testing and was notified of 2,067 dead or ill birds
(mostly crows) not submitted for testing due to their condition.
Monmouth County maintained a sentinel chicken program this season.
A total of 31 chickens tested positive for WNV in testing conducted
by the Center for Vector-Borne Diseases at the University of Rhode
- The Division of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Environmental Protection,
also conducting avian and small mammal testing for WNV. The division
tested 169 animals, with 5 positive (3 red-tailed hawks, 1 merlin, and
- In 2001, 357 mosquito pools collected in Atlantic (9), Bergen (81),
Burlington (17), Camden (50), Cape May (5), Essex (6), Hudson (8), Hunterdon
(7), Mercer (1), Middlesex (24), Monmouth (54), Morris (16), Ocean (6),
Passaic (31), Salem (2), Somerset (8), Sussex (8), Union (16), and Warren
(8) Counties tested positive for the presence of WNV. In total, 4,937
mosquito pools were tested.
- The U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine-North's
testing lab tested 186 mosquito pools collected on military property
in New Jersey. All tests were negative for the presence of WNV.
- 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 in 2001, 30 horses have tested positive for the presence of
WNV. For more information, visit the Department of Agriculture website
Additional Information & Advisories
- The risk of WNV infection will increase in the spring and people
can take steps now 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.