Test Results as of 10/3/01
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New In This Update

  • A few additional birds and mosquitoes test positive

Human Testing

  • In total, 87 residents have been approved for WNV testing and 82 have accepted. (Click here to view list). Blood and/or spinal fluid samples from these individuals have been or are in the process of being tested for the presence of WNV. 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.

  • To date, 4 tests were positive, 30 were negative and 48 are pending.

  • New Jersey's first WNV positive case of the season is a 72-year old Bergenfield woman. Testing on serum and spinal fluid samples completed Aug. 29 by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services laboratories were consistent with the WNV diagnosis. Final confirmation of this case was made by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier in September. The patient was admitted to Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck at the end of July with symptoms consistent with WNV infection, including a fever greater than 100 degrees, muscle weakness and malaise. While her mental status improved, she did receive rehabilitative therapy.

  • The state's other diagnosed cases include a 72-year old man from Camden City (Camden County), a 66-year old man from Edison Township (Middlesex), and a 78-year old woman from Westfield Township (Union). All three patients were hospitalized with symptoms consistent with WNV infection, including fever and altered mental status. Their conditions improved and all three have since been discharged. The Westfield woman did receive rehabilitative therapy. The Camden man was admitted to Cooper Hospital on August 23; the Edison man to JFK Medical Center on August 31; and the Westfield woman to Overlook Hospital on September 5, 2001.

  • 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 confirmation.

  • 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 and Other Bird and Small Mammal Testing

  • To date, 1,457 birds, mostly crows, have been accepted for testing by the Department of Health and Senior Services' Public Health and Environmental Laboratory. Of those tested, 955 crows found in 20 counties have been confirmed positive for the presence of WNV. Positive crows have been found in Atlantic (2), Bergen (99), Burlington (100), Camden (175), Cape May (7), Cumberland (3), Essex (32), Gloucester (22), Hudson (19), Hunterdon (7), Mercer (13), Middlesex (133), Monmouth (164), Morris (30), Ocean (9), Passaic (37), Salem (6), Somerset (44), Union (50), and Warren (3) Counties.

  • The department has also received 1,069 bird samples (mostly crows) deemed unsatisfactory for testing and has been notified of 1,205 dead or ill birds (mostly crows) not submitted for testing due to their condition.

  • Monmouth County has maintained a sentinel chicken program this season. To date, 5 chickens have tested positive for WNV in testing conducted by the Center for Vector-Borne Diseases at the University of Rhode Island.

  • The Division of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Environmental Protection, is also conducting avian and small mammal testing for WNV. To date, the division has tested 36 animals (31 hawks, 1 falcon, 2 owl and 2 gray squirrels), with 27 negative results and 9 tests pending.

Mosquito Testing

  • To date, 318 mosquito pools collected in Atlantic (9), Bergen (64), Burlington (16), Camden (48), Cape May (3), Essex (6), Hudson (8), Hunterdon (7), Mercer (1), Middlesex (24), Monmouth (49), Morris (14), Ocean (6), Passaic (24), Salem (2), Somerset (8), Sussex (7), Union (14), and Warren (8) Counties have tested positive for the presence of WNV. In total, 3,961 mosquito pools have been tested.

  • The U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine-North's testing lab has tested 186 mosquito pools collected on military property in New Jersey. All tests to date have been negative for the presence of WNV.

Horse Testing

  • Equine testing is conducted by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture's animal health laboratory in Trenton and positive results are sent to the National Veterinary Services Lab (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa for confirmation. To date, two horses have tested positive for the presence of WNV. For more information, visit the Department of Agriculture website at

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.

  • In 2000, a total of six New Jersey residents became ill and one died due to WNV infection. The virus was also detected in mosquitoes, horses, crows and other birds in 20 of the state's 21 counties. The virus was detected for the first time in the Western Hemisphere in September 1999, in birds found in New York City and Westchester County.

  • New Jersey's WNV surveillance, control and prevention activities 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 CDC, the State Mosquito Control Commission, the Rutgers Mosquito Research and Control Unit, and local health and mosquito control agencies.

  • For more information on WNV, visit the New Jersey State homepage at and click on West Nile Virus.


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