News Release

PO 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
Christine Grant
Commissioner
For Release:
October 7, 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
No Human Cases in New Jersey;
Additional Crows Test Positive for Virus

TRENTON - Despite reports to the contrary, New Jersey still has no confirmed cases of humans infected with the West Nile-like virus.

"To date, 12 human blood samples have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for analysis. Three tests have been performed and all three are negative for the West Nile-like virus," said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Christine Grant.

Seventeen of 50 dead crows submitted by the Department of Health to CDC for analysis have been tested. Fifteen crows found in Bergen, Essex, Middlesex and Union Counties have tested positive; two birds from Mercer tested negative for the virus.

CDC reports the West Nile-like virus outbreak that has made a number of New York residents ill is continuing to wane. CDC has reported the onset of illness in the last confirmed case in New York was September 17th.

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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