Christie Administration Officials Urge Residents
To Take Precautions Against Mosquitoes to Safeguard Against West Nile Virus
The Department of Health and Department of Environmental Protection are urging state residents to take precautions to protect themselves from mosquito-borne West Nile Virus (WNV) by taking simple steps to reduce populations of the insect on their properties.
Concerns are elevated this year because of increased mosquito activity due to weather conditions that have been ripe for mosquito breeding, which could increase the risk of mosquito-borne diseases, including West Nile virus.
"West Nile Virus cases tend to increase in late summer and fall and residents should take steps to prevent mosquito bites," said New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd. "Residents should protect themselves by using repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants and avoiding the outdoors during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active."
ditional personal protection measures include:
"The DEP's mosquito program coordinates and supplements the network of county mosquito agencies with an Integrated Pest Management approach that stresses multiple strategies beyond the application of pesticides,'' said Bob Kent, Administrator of the DEP's Office of Mosquito Control Coordination. "The surveillance and management of chronic mosquito producing sites continues on a year-round basis, and includes wetlands management and the introduction of biological control agents, such as mosquito eating fish and tiny crustaceans, or copepods.''
The DEP offers the following tips on how to limit mosquitoes on your property:
In recent weeks, the number of human WNV cases identified in the United States has risen dramatically, with the nation experiencing the highest number of cases reported since 1999, when WNV was first detected in the United States. The majority of the 1,590 cases in 2012 to date have been reported from six states-Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Michigan, Oklahoma and South Dakota. Nationally there have been 66 deaths. For more information on national cases visit CDC.gov.
In response to the increased number of mosquitoes, the State has stepped up its air surveillance of potential mosquito breeding grounds and aircraft pesticide applications to proactively reduce the threat of impacts to people. The state also has been working closely with county mosquito control programs and local health departments to help them identify and respond to mosquito outbreaks in a timely manner.
The majority of individuals infected with WNV will show no symptoms. Some people will have mild to moderate symptoms of West Nile fever, which may include fever, headache, rash, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and swollen lymph nodes. Symptoms appear within 2 to 15 days of being bitten by an infected mosquito. Older adults and immune-compromised individuals are at higher risk of developing severe illness.
If a person thinks they may have WNV infection, they should visit their health care provider for further evaluation and potential testing for WNV. There is no treatment for WNV, and mild to moderate infections usually resolve within 7 to 10 days. More severe infections may require hospitalization and supportive treatment.