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For Release:
September 19, 2003

Clifton R. Lacy, M.D.

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

New Jersey Reports Three New Cases of West Nile Virus


The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) reported its eighth, ninth and tenth human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) infection in New Jersey this year, Health and Senior Services Commissioner Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. announced today.

The eighth human case this year is a 22-year-old Belford (Monmouth County) man who reported fever, headache, muscle weakness, facial paralysis, and altered mental status on September 8. He was hospitalized the same day with a diagnosis of meningoencephalitis.

The ninth human case is a 74-year-old Cranford (Union County) man who reported fever, headache, altered mental status, and a stiff neck on September 8. The patient was hospitalized the next day with a diagnosis of encephalitis.

Both patients are improving but are still hospitalized.

The tenth human case is a 41-year-old Westville (Gloucester County) woman. West Nile virus was detected when blood she donated tested positive at a New Jersey blood bank. She donated blood on August 22 and developed headache, fever, body ache, and vomiting over the next several days. She was not hospitalized and has fully recovered.

She has been contacted by the blood bank for follow-up testing, per recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Health officials stress that the woman did not contract WNV from donated blood. No one contracted WNV infection from her blood due to testing safeguards in place to protect the blood supply.

On July 1, 2003, New Jersey began screening donated blood for the presence of WNV infection. Blood collection facilities have also added screening questions to identify and exclude people who exhibit fever and headache in the week prior to donation. At least 30 blood banks in the U.S. are capable of this testing, two of which serve New Jersey: the American Red Cross/Penn Jersey Blood Bank in Philadelphia and New Jersey Blood Services in New Brunswick.

Information on New Jerseyís current number of confirmed WNV cases in humans, crows and mosquito pools is available on the DHSS web site at by clicking on the WNV link.The site also has information on transmission, symptoms and protective measures New Jerseyans can take.

Data regarding nationally confirmed cases and trends can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at .

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.


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