STATE—The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services today reported this season’s first human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) infection in a 65-year-old Middlesex County man and 73-year-old Burlington County man.
Both men experienced fever, headache and altered mental status and were hospitalized in August. The Middlesex County man was released from the hospital at the end of August. The Burlington County man is seriously ill and is being monitored in a health care facility.
“The risk of West Nile Virus infection persists throughout the fall and people should continue taking steps to protect themselves and their families from infection,” said New Jersey Health and Senior Services Commissioner Heather Howard. “Residents should remain vigilant and survey your property to eliminate likely mosquito breeding grounds.”
Residents should clean or remove any items that can collect rain or sprinkler water, such as clogged gutters, flowerpots, or old car tires. They should also completely change water in birdbaths at least once a week and repair window and door screens.
People should also apply insect repellent to their clothing and exposed skin in accordance with labeling directions, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, weather permitting, when outdoors, and limit outdoor activities at dawn, dusk and during the evening.
In 2007, an 88-year-old male from Middlesex County was the only human case of West Nile Virus identified in the state. The peak of human cases occurred in 2003 with 32 residents testing positive for West Nile Virus.
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 web site at nj.gov/health/cd/westnile/enceph.htm.
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