New Jersey Department Of Health & Senior Services
West Nile Virus Human Testing 2000
Test Results as of 11/30/00
- In total, blood and/or spinal fluid samples from 55
residents have been or are in the process of being tested for the
presence of WNV (Click here to view list). To date, 4 tests were
positive, 38 were negative, 12 are pending and 1 individual
declined testing. These individuals either had symptoms or signs
that met the established WNV testing criteria or exhibited most
of the symptoms and are from counties where dead crows and/or
mosquitoes with the virus have been discovered.
- New Jersey's positive human cases include an 82-year old
Little Falls man who became ill September 3, was admitted to a
hospital three days later, and died September 14.
- New Jersey's other human cases include a 43-year old Jersey
City man, a 54-year old man with dual residency in Brooklyn,
N.Y., and Cliffside Park, Bergen County, and a 72-year old
Bayonne woman. All three individuals have either recovered or
- Human testing for WNV is being conducted at the New Jersey
Department of Health and Senior Services' Public Health and
Environmental Laboratory in Trenton and at public health labs in
other states. Testing results are sent to the CDC for
- Doctors of patients with symptoms that do not meet WNV
testing criteria have the option of sending samples of their
patients' blood to private laboratories for analysis using the
St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE) screening test. Since SLE and WNV
are closely related viruses, a WNV case will most likely react to
a SLE test. The department has not been notified of any positive
SLE tests to date.
Crow, Hawk & Falcon Testing
- To date, the Department of Health and Senior Services' lab
in Trenton has accepted 2,250 birds for testing. A total of
1,276 birds (1,273 crows, a blue jay, a great horned owl and a
cockatiel) found in 18 counties have tested positive for the
presence of WNV. Positive birds have been found in Atlantic (3),
Bergen (202, including a great horned owl), Burlington (15),
Camden (11), Cape May (5, including a blue jay), Essex (136),
Gloucester (7), Hudson (64), Hunterdon (6), Mercer (11),
Middlesex (263), Monmouth (195, including a cockatiel), Morris
(63), Ocean (36), Passaic (86), Salem (1), Somerset (38) and
Union (134) Counties. The 151 new positive birds included in
today's update were collected from late August to November.
- In addition, avian testing conducted by the New Jersey
Division of Fish & Wildlife has detected WNV in wild bird
specimens in 9 counties. Positive birds have been found in
Bergen (1 merlin & 1 hawk), Camden (1 hawk), Cape May (1 American
kestrel), Gloucester (1 hawk), Hudson (1 crow), Middlesex (1 blue
jay), Monmouth (1 hawk), Passaic (1 crow), and Union (2 crows, 1
hawk, and 1 blue jay) Counties.
Mosquito & House Sparrow Testing
- Fifty-seven mosquito pools collected in Bergen (22), Essex
(2), Hunterdon (1), Middlesex (3), Monmouth (2), Ocean (1),
Passaic (12), Sussex (6), Union (1), and Warren (7) Counties have
tested positive for the presence of WNV. In total, 14,415
mosquito pools from all 21 counties have been collected by the
Rutgers Mosquito Research and Control Unit and tested by the
Department of Health and Senior Services and/or the CDC. The 4
new positive mosquito pools added to today's update were
collected October 26 in Warren County.
- In addition to mosquitoes, the CDC also analyzed blood
samples taken from 541 house sparrows collected in Bergen,
Passaic and Sussex County in late July. No sparrows with WNV
were discovered in New Jersey.
Sentinel Chicken Testing
- This season blood samples were taken weekly from sentinel
chicken flocks placed in all 21 counties and tested by the New
Jersey Department of Agriculture for the presence of WNV.
- To date, 10 chickens, stationed in Essex (2), Middlesex (4),
Morris (3) and Sussex (1) Counties, have tested positive for WNV.
The National Veterinary Services Lab (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa, has
confirmed the test results. The 6 most recent positive samples
were collected in late October in Essex (1), Middlesex (3) and
Morris (2) Counties.
- A total of 27 horses from Atlantic (3), Bergen (1),
Burlington (2), Cape May (1), Gloucester (1), Hunterdon (2),
Middlesex (1), Monmouth (9), Ocean (2), Salem (2) and Sussex (3)
Counties have tested positive for WNV. Equine testing is
conducted by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture's animal
health laboratory in Trenton and results are sent to NVSL for
confirmation. Seven horse deaths have been attributed to the
Late Season Surveillance & Testing Plans
- As mosquito season draws to a close and the potential for
WNV infection ends, statewide WNV surveillance and testing
activities for the year will be discontinued.
- Active human surveillance (a weekly hospital reporting
system of suspect human cases) ended Oct. 31, and state lab
testing for WNV in humans will end Nov. 30.
- Crow submissions from northern and central counties
(including Mercer and Monmouth) ended Oct. 31, while submissions
from southern counties will continue through the end of November.
- The sentinel chicken flocks have been retired and routine
WNV mosquito surveillance for the season has been discontinued.
County government agencies, however, will continue appropriate
surveillance for general mosquito control.
Additional Information & Advisories
- New Jersey residents can take personal precautions to
minimize their WNV exposure risk. Such measures include spraying
insect repellent on their clothing and exposed skin in accordance
with labeling directions and wearing long sleeved shirts and
pants when outdoors. Residents can also curb outdoor activities
at dawn, dusk and during the evening. Residents should also
eliminate standing water on their own property that can serve as
a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Windows screens should also be
used and kept in good repair.
- The West 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 are at higher risk of more severe disease.
- The West Nile virus was first isolated and identified in the
Western Hemisphere by the CDC in September 1999 in birds found
dead in New York City and Westchester County. The virus was
responsible for 62 human cases of encephalitis in New York State
and seven deaths. This year, there have been 14 human cases in
New York City, including 10 in Staten Island. One human case has
been confirmed this year in Connecticut.
- New Jersey's WNV surveillance, control and prevention
efforts involve the coordinated efforts of a number of federal,
state and local agencies. These include the New Jersey
Departments of Health and Senior Services, Environmental
Protection, and Agriculture, the federal Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC), the State Mosquito Control
Commission, the Rutgers Mosquito Research and Control Unit, and
local health and mosquito control agencies.
- For more information on West Nile virus, visit the State
Department of Health and Senior Services' website at
www.state.nj.us/health, the State Department of Environmental
Protection's site at
www.state.nj.us/dep/mosquito, the State Department of Agriculture's site at
or the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's site at