New In This Update
- A 45-year old Carteret (Middlesex County) man has become the first
state resident this season to die after being infected with the West
Nile virus (WNV).
- The man reported having intermittent fever and chills beginning in
mid-August, and was hospitalized at Raritan Bay Medical Center on August
21 after experiencing severe muscle weakness. He developed medical complications
and, after a long course of illness, died on
October 4. The man was most likely bitten by an infected mosquito in
late-July or early August. Since then, mosquito control activities and
colder weather have helped reduce the risk of further WNV transmission.
- Blood samples drawn from the man and sent to a private laboratory
for testing came back positive for WNV in mid-September. The New Jersey
Department of Health and Senior Services was notified of the case on
October 4 and arranged for blood and spinal fluid samples to be sent
to its Public Health and Environmental Laboratories for further testing.
Those tests also detected WNV and were sent to the federal Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which confirmed the case yesterday.
- In total, 101 residents have been approved for WNV testing and 94
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, 7 tests were positive, 41 were negative and the rest are
- 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, 1,561 birds, mostly crows, have been accepted for testing
by the Department of Health and Senior Services' Public Health and Environmental
Laboratory. Of those tested, 1,071 crows found in 20 counties have been
confirmed positive for the presence of WNV. Positive crows have been
found in Atlantic (3), Bergen (119), Burlington (112), Camden (179),
Cape May (7), Cumberland (5), Essex (37), Gloucester (30), Hudson (19),
Hunterdon (13), Mercer (17), Middlesex (142), Monmouth (186), Morris
(36), Ocean (17), Passaic (40), Salem (7), Somerset (45), Union (52),
and Warren (5) Counties.
- The department has also received 1,151 bird samples (mostly crows)
deemed unsatisfactory for testing and has been notified of 1,900 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, 322 mosquito pools collected in Atlantic (9), Bergen (65),
Burlington (16), Camden (48), Cape May (3), Essex (6), Hudson (8), Hunterdon
(7), Mercer (1), Middlesex (25), Monmouth (49), Morris (15), Ocean (6),
Passaic (25), Salem (2), Somerset (8), Sussex (7), Union (14), and Warren
(8) Counties have tested positive for the presence of WNV. In total,
4,643 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, 19 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
- While the risk of WNV infection has ended with the arrival of shorter
days and colder temperatures, the risk will return in the spring and
people can take steps now and next year to eliminate mosquito breeding
areas around their homes and protect themselves and their families from
- Among the personal precautions residents can take now are such measures
as eliminating standing water on their own property (such as clearing
clogged gutters, draining flower pots, recycling old car tires, etc.),
and repairing window and door screens. In the spring, summer, and fall
residents can spray insect repellent on their clothing and exposed skin
in accordance with labeling directions, wear long sleeved shirts and
pants when outdoors, or curb outdoor activities at dawn, dusk and during
- 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 West Nile virus, visit the state's WNV Resources
webpage at www.state.nj.us/governor/westnile.