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News Release

 
   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
  September 13, 2002

 

Clifton R. Lacy, M.D.
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Donna Leusner or Marilyn Riley
(609) 984-7160


Third Human Case of West Nile Reported

TRENTON -The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services announced that a third New Jersey resident has been infected with West Nile virus.

A 39-year old Trenton, Mercer County man has tested positive for West Nile Virus. The man began showing symptoms of headaches, fever, chills and changes in mental status on August 26 and was admitted to St. Francis Medical Center September 2. The man is in serious but stable condition.

The state lab received samples for testing on Tuesday, September 10. Those samples tested positive today.

The patient does not have a history of recent blood transfusions or organ transplants.

All three New Jersey individuals with West Nile virus live in Mercer County. The new patient is the 21st case in New Jersey since 1999. There have been nearly 1,300 cases reported nationwide to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those, there have been 54 West Nile virus-related deaths nationwide this year, none in New Jersey.

On September 4, a 77-year-old Ewing man was the first person to test positive for the West Nile Virus this year. A 62-year old Mercerville man tested positive for West Nile Virus on September 6.
In total, 78 residents are being tested for West Nile virus testing this season. Blood and/or spinal fluid samples from these individuals are in the process of being tested for the presence of West Nile. These individuals met the established criteria for West Nile testing.
To date, 33 people have tested negative, 42 people are pending test results and 3 are positive. In Mercer County, a total of 94 birds have been tested and 40 are positive. The remaining cass are negative.
Human testing for WNV is conducted at the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services' Public Health and Environmental Laboratories in Trenton and at public health labs in other states. Testing results are sent to the CDC for confirmation.
New Jersey Health and Senior Services Commissioner Clifton R. Lacy, M.D., reminds all New Jersey residents to continue taking appropriate precautions to reduce risk of mosquito bites.

"Residents can protect themselves from infection by using insect repellent according to labeled directions and wearing long-sleeved clothing, especially at dawn, dusk and during the evening,'' Dr. Lacy said. "People should also keep window screens in good repair and eliminate standing water where mosquitoes can breed.''

The virus has been detected in birds and mosquitoes in all but one county in the state.

"The state is still at that part of the season when the risk is highest for human infection,'' said State Epidemiologist Eddy Bresnitz, M.D.

For more information on West Nile, visit the state's home page at www.state.nj.us/health and click on "West Nile virus.''

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Department of Health and Senior Services
P. O. Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

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