Memo to New Jersey Hospitals

Update on West Nile Virus

TO: Physicians
Hospital CEOs
Emergency Room Directors
Infection Control Practitioners
Laboratory Directors
FROM: Eddy A. Bresnitz, MD, MS
State Epidemiologist/Assistant Commissioner
Division of Epidemiology, Environmental and
Occupational Health
DATE: May 30, 2000
SUBJECT: West Nile Virus - Protocol for Suspect Human Cases

In February 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified West Nile virus (WNV) in three mosquito pools collected from northern Queens, NYC, where the majority of human WNV cases had occurred during the 1999 outbreak. This finding serves as a reminder that we need to be vigilant to the possibility that WNV may re-emerge this summer in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area. In preparation for such an event, a comprehensive WNV surveillance and control program is being implemented by the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) in conjunction with the State Mosquito Control Commission, the Departments of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, and Rutgers University. Mosquitoes, sentinel chickens, crows, and other wild birds, and horses will be monitored for the presence of WNV. County mosquito control agencies, which routinely do an excellent job in keeping New Jersey's mosquito populations low, are also making extra efforts this year to minimize mosquito population levels.

With the above efforts, it is hoped that, as last year, no human cases of WNV will be found in New Jersey. To be prepared for the possibility of human cases, however, the DOH has prepared the following information and protocols for medical care providers to assist them in evaluating potential cases of WNV and submitting specimens to our laboratory.

Please find the following documents attached:

  1. Question and Answer Fact Sheet on WNV and a WNV Tip Sheet - for your information and to provide to patients.

  2. Protocol for Testing Human Specimens for WNV - the procedure to be followed if you have a suspect case and are considering specimen submittal.

  3. Surveillance Criteria for Diagnostic Testing of Suspect Cases of WNV in New Jersey - Clinical information concerning the type of cases we would like to test for WNV.

Please ensure that all appropriate persons in your facility receive a copy of this information. If there are any questions, please call the Infectious and Zoonotic Diseases Program at 609-588-3121 or 609-588- 7500.

C: Local Health Departments
     County Mosquito Control Agencies

mas 05-30-00

NJ Home Page DOH Home Page