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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
September 16, 2010

Poonam Alaigh, MD, MSHCPM, FACP
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160


 
NJ Reports First Death of Patient Who Tested Positive for West Nile Virus


 

A 76-year-old Camden County man with multiple underlying medical conditions who died last month, tested positive in the state lab today for West Nile Virus (WNV), the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services reported.

 

To date, 11 New Jersey residents have tested positive for West Nile Virus in 7 counties: Atlantic (1); Camden (2); Essex (1); Hudson (2); Monmouth (1) Ocean (2); and Passaic (2). The two cases in Camden include the elderly Camden County resident who died.

 

“West Nile Virus is much more active this year so everyone—especially seniors and those with weakened immune systems–should take the proper precautions to prevent mosquito bites,’’ said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Dr. Poonam Alaigh.

 

The elderly Camden County man developed headaches and fever Aug. 20, was hospitalized on Aug. 25 and died Aug. 30. The patient had several serious underlying medical conditions that also may have contributed to his death.

 

“Late summer and early fall are typically when we begin seeing cases of West Nile Virus in New Jersey,” said Dr. Alaigh. “It is important for everyone to remember to protect themselves from mosquitoes until after the first frost.” 

 

People should apply insect repellant to their clothing and exposed skin in accordance with labeling directions, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants (weather permitting) outdoors, and limit outdoor activities at dawn, dusk and during evening hours.

 

Residents should be sure to survey their property and remove any items that can collect rain or sprinkler water.  Items such as clogged gutters, flower pots and old tires are prime breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

 

  • In 2009, three people were diagnosed with WNV in New Jersey. 

 

  • In 2003, 34 New Jersey residents tested positive for WNV, the peak number of cases reported in New Jersey for a single year.

 

In addition to the 11 individuals with West Nile Virus, 117 birds have also tested positive for the virus in Atlantic, Burlington, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Monmouth, Morris and Ocean counties.

 

WNV 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 human to human.

 

For more information on WNV visit the DHSS website at: http://www.state.nj.us/health/cd/westnile/index.shtml.

 
 
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