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Test Results as of 12/5/01
 
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New In This Update

  • A 75 year-old Harrison (Hudson County) woman has become the eighth state resident this season confirmed to have been infected with the West Nile virus (WNV). She is currently in a good state of health and has returned to work.
  • The woman, who has a cardiac condition, was admitted in mid-August to West Hudson Hospital with symptoms that included fever, nausea and a headache. She regularly spent a great deal of time outdoors, and had traveled to the West Coast and the Jersey Shore just prior to her hospitalization. Preliminary infectious disease tests on the patient were negative. She was transferred to St. Michael's Hospital in Newark for additional testing related to her heart condition. Her health subsequently improved and she was discharged in late August. Blood tests at a private lab, and in mid-September at the DHSS lab, showed the patient had been exposed to WNV, but were inconclusive as to whether the patient was infected this season or in a previous year. More comprehensive tests conducted at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed late last week that the infection was from this season.

Human Testing

  • In total, 106 residents have been approved for WNV testing and 97 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, 8 tests were positive, 74 were negative and 15 are pending.

  • 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.

Mosquito Testing

  • 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 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, 24 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 been greatly reduced 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 infection.

  • 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 evening.

  • 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.

 

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