News Release

PO 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
Christine Grant
Commissioner
For Release:
October 4, 1999
For Further Information Contact:
Rita Manno or
Dennis McGowan
(609) 984-7160
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New Jersey's Update on West Nile-like Virus
Four Dead Crows Had Virus; No Human Cases in New Jersey

TRENTON - Four dead crows submitted by the Department of Health to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for analysis tested positive over the weekend for presence of the West Nile-like virus, marking the first time the virus has been identified in birds in New Jersey.

No New Jersey resident has been diagnosed with the West Nile-like virus that has made a number of New York City residents ill since August.

The four crows, submitted Thursday to the CDC's laboratory in Ft. Collins, Colorado, were found in Bergen, Essex, Middlesex and Union Counties. A fifth crow found in Mercer County and tested this weekend did not have the virus.

The West Nile-like virus, closely related to the St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE) virus last identified in New Jersey in 1975, is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Neither virus is directly transmitted from birds to humans or from person to person. The West Nile-like virus generally causes a milder illness than SLE in humans.

The West Nile-like virus was first isolated and identified by the CDC in late September in birds, including a wild crow, that died in New York City and Westchester County. To address the situation, New Jersey has taken the following actions:

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