- Of more than three dozen birds tested so far this season by the
New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, five crows
found in Monmouth (4) and Morris (1) Counties have tested positive
for the presence of the West Nile virus, Health and Senior Services
Commissioner Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. announced today.
Jersey's healthcare community and mosquito control agencies are
well-prepared to combat West Nile virus again this season but, now
that the weather is getting nicer and we are all spending more and
more time outdoors, residents, too, need to be proactive to protect
themselves and their children from this mosquito-transmitted virus,"
said Dr. Lacy.
the personal precautions residents should take is cleaning up any
items on their personal property that can collect rain or sprinkler
water and serve as an excellent breeding ground for mosquitoes,
such as clogged gutters, flowerpots, or old car tires. If you have
a birdbath, make sure you change the water completely at least once
a week. People should also repair window and door screens.
Lacy said that from now until the end of mosquito season - which
lasts until the first frost in late fall or early winter - residents
should also consider spraying insect repellent on their clothing
and exposed skin in accordance with labeling directions, wearing
long sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors, or curbing outdoor
activities at dawn, dusk and during the evening.
Nile virus (WNV), 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 or horses
to humans, from horse to horse, or from person to person. In people,
West Nile generally causes no symptoms or just mild, flu-like symptoms;
however, the elderly are at higher risk of more severe disease.
Similarly, infected horses may not show any symptoms of the disease.
When they do appear, symptoms may include the animal being "off
his feed," or exhibiting neurological abnormalities.
2001, lab testing confirmed WNV infection in 12 New Jersey residents,
including one fatality. The virus was also detected in mosquitoes,
horses, or crows and other birds in every county last year. The
virus was detected for the first time in the Western Hemisphere
in September 1999, in birds found in New York City and Westchester
Jersey's efforts to combat WNV have been led by the Department of
Health and Senior Services working with the departments of Agriculture
and Environmental Protection, state and county mosquito control
commissions, Rutgers University, and local health officials. Prevention
activities have included comprehensive, year-round mosquito control,
and seasonal human, animal and mosquito surveillance and testing,
so those working to control the virus can more effectively determine
its intensity, geographic spread and impact.
enhancements implemented this year include a statewide courier service
to help local agencies deliver bird and mosquito samples to the
state lab for testing and a web-based geographic information system
(GIS) prototype to provide timelier and geographically accurate
information on where samples have been found so that mosquito control
agencies can more effectively respond upon learning of a WNV-positive
bird or mosquito in their jurisdiction.
addition, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has a
nationally renowned biological Mosquito Control Program that uses
mosquito-eating fish to control the spread of the virus in the mosquito
population. As of May, a quarter million mosquito eating fish have
been stocked in more than a dozen counties throughout New Jersey.
Further, the DEP has donated 40,000 of the state's homegrown mosquito
eating fish to Rockland County Health Department in New York.
DEP continues to work with local governments to assist in the clean
up of abandoned tire piles throughout the state. Abandoned tires
can collect water pools and attract mosquitoes.
five WNV positive crows announced today were collected in the Monmouth
County communities of Farmingdale (April 16), Tinton Falls (April
18 and May 5), and Wall Township (May 13), and the Morris County
municipality of Lincoln Park (April 17). Both counties have been
conducting mosquito surveillance and larval control since late March-early
April. As a result of the positive findings, both counties will
be increasing their surveillance for larval and adult mosquitoes
in the immediate vicinity where the crows were found. The counties
have no immediate plans to conduct any adult mosquito spraying.
This strategy complies with CDC recommendations.
For more information on West Nile virus, including a downloadable
brochure with prevention tips, residents should visit the Department
of Health and Senior Services' website at www.state.nj.us/health.