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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
October 01, 2003

Clifton R. Lacy, M.D.
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Donna Leusner
609-984-7160


 
New Jersey Reports Death of a Second Patient with West Nile Virus Infection


 

 

TRENTON – A 52-year old man from Dennis Township (Cape May County), who died in the hospital of a ruptured brain aneurysm, tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV) infection, Health and Senior Services Commissioner Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. announced today.

The patient was hospitalized on September 2 with headache, nausea, vomiting and stiff neck.  Clinical signs worsened on September 8 and seizures developed on September 10.  The patient was transferred to an out-of-state medical center for treatment. He died on September 11. The cause of death was listed as a ruptured brain aneurysm.

The victim did not have a history of blood transfusion, organ transplantation or travel.  He did have a history of mosquito bites acquired around his residence.  His blood tested positive for WNV infection at the New Jersey Public Health and Environmental Laboratories on September 30. 

“A ruptured brain aneurysm was reported as the cause of death.  It is unclear whether West Nile virus infection contributed to this patient’s death or was just a coincidental finding,’’ said Dr. Lacy. 

“New Jerseyans remain at risk for West Nile virus infection until the first frost.  Although there is no treatment for this disease, it is completely preventable by avoiding mosquito bites,” Commissioner Lacy said.

The Cape May County man is the eighteenth confirmed human case of West Nile virus infection in New Jersey this season.  This is the second confirmed death this season, and fourth since 1999, of a person who tested positive for WNV infection.

Information on New Jersey’s current number of confirmed West Nile cases in humans, crows and mosquito pools is available on the DHSS web site at http://www.state.nj.us/health/ by clicking on the West Nile Virus link.  The site also has information on transmission, symptoms and protective measures.

Data regarding nationally confirmed cases and trends can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov/.

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. WNV infection generally causes no symptoms or just mild, flu-like symptoms.

 New Jersey's West Nile virus surveillance, control and prevention activities involve the coordinated effort 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, visit the state's home page at www.state.nj.us/health and click on "West Nile virus.''

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