- A 45-year old Carteret (Middlesex County) man has become the first
state resident this season to die after being infected with the
West Nile virus (WNV).
man reported having intermittent fever and chills beginning in mid-August,
and was hospitalized at Raritan Bay Medical Center on August 21
after experiencing severe muscle weakness. He developed medical
complications and, after a long course of illness, died on October
4. The man was most likely bitten by an infected mosquito in late-July
or early August. Since then, mosquito control activities and colder
weather have helped reduce the risk of further WNV transmission.
samples drawn from the man and sent to a private laboratory for
testing came back positive for WNV in mid-September. The New Jersey
Department of Health and Senior Services was notified of the
case on October 2 and arranged for blood and spinal fluid samples
to be sent to its Public Health and Environmental Laboratories for
further testing. Those tests also detected WNV and were sent to
the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which
confirmed the case yesterday.
behalf of all of us working to reduce illness caused by West Nile
virus, I wish to extend our sympathies to this gentleman's family
and friends," said New Jersey Health and Senior Services Acting
Commissioner George T. DiFerdinando, Jr., M.D.
of this case brings to seven the number of New Jersey residents
detected with WNV this season. In addition to people, the virus
has also been found this year in 1,071 crows, 322 mosquito pools
and in 19 horses this year. In 2000, testing confirmed the presence
of WNV in six state residents, including one who died, and numerous
birds, mosquitoes and horses.
the state lab stopped accepting crows for WNV testing in mid-October,
human surveillance for the virus is continuing to the end of November,
Dr. DiFerdinando said.
surveillance efforts this season were effective as we were able
to document West Nile virus activity in all 21 New Jersey counties,"
Dr. DiFerdinando said.
DiFerdinando said New Jersey's WNV surveillance, control and prevention
activities this season involved the coordinated efforts of a number
of federal, state and local agencies. These included 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. The commissioner said residents who
reported dead crows to local authorities also played a key role
in tracking the virus.
extend our condolences to the family of this individual and remain
committed to attacking this disease through statewide surveillance,
vector control and preventive measures," said State Environmental
Protection Commissioner Bob Shinn. Shinn added that county mosquito
control agencies and state agency coordination will continue to
perform surveillance of mosquitoes and mosquito habitats and will
conduct water management and biological control as needed during
said the state has proposed an additional $2.4 million in fiscal
year 2002 budget for tire clean up. This year, every county in the
state received funding from a $2.4 million tire round-up program
to assist in cleaning up scrap tires that can serve as mosquito
breeding grounds if left untreated.
the risk of WNV infection has ended 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.
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 evening.
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 and those with
compromised immune systems are at a higher risk of more severe disease.
more information on West Nile virus, visit the state's WNV Resources
webpage at www.state.nj.us/governor/westnile.
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