New In This Update
- A 72-year old man from Newark (Essex County) and a 38-year old woman
from Pennsauken (Camden) have tested positive for the presence of West
Nile virus (WNV). Final confirmation of the cases will be made by the
federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) within a few
weeks. The Newark man was admitted to St. Michael's Medical Center August
23 with symptoms consistent with WNV infection, including fever, muscle
weakness and altered mental status. His clinical condition improved
and he was discharged. The Pennsauken woman presented at Kennedy Health
System's Cherry Hill Campus hospital on September 20 with symptoms that
began in late August and included fever, headache and muscle weakness.
She was discharged and is receiving physical therapy on an outpatient
basis. Both individuals were most likely bitten by an infected mosquito
in mid to late August.
- 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, 6 tests were positive, 30 were negative and 46 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, 1,517 birds, mostly crows, have been accepted for testing
by the Department of Health and Senior Services' Public Health and Environmental
Laboratory. Of those tested, 995 crows found in 20 counties have been
confirmed positive for the presence of WNV. Positive crows have been
found in Atlantic (3), Bergen (106), Burlington (104), Camden (179),
Cape May (7), Cumberland (5), Essex (32), Gloucester (27), Hudson (19),
Hunterdon (8), Mercer (16), Middlesex (138), Monmouth (167), Morris
(30), Ocean (10), Passaic (38), Salem (8), Somerset (44), Union (50),
and Warren (4) Counties.
- The department has also received 1,125 bird samples (mostly crows)
deemed unsatisfactory for testing and has been notified of 1,376 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 80 animals (71 hawks, 3 falcons, 2 owls, 2 wild
turkeys and 2 gray squirrels), with 1 positive and 56 negative results
and 23 tests pending.
- 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
- 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, 12 horses have tested positive for the presence of WNV. For
more information, visit the Department of Agriculture website at www.state.nj.us/agriculture.
Additional Information & Advisories
- With shorter days and cooler weather, the risk of WNV infection is
diminishing and will end with the season's first hard frost. 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
www.state.nj.us and click on West