News Release

PO 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
Christine Grant
Commissioner
For Release:
December 23, 2000
For Further Information Contact:
Dennis McGowan
(609) 984-7160
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West Nile Virus Update

TRENTON - Laboratory testing and analysis completed this week by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have confirmed that a fifth New Jersey resident was infected with the West Nile virus (WNV) this past summer.

The resident, a 76 year-old Dover Township (Morris County) woman with underlying medical conditions, was admitted to St. Clare's Hospital on August 27 with symptoms of encephalitis including fever, headache and confusion. Her condition slowly improved, she was transferred to a rehabilitation center and is presently residing in a nursing home.

Department of Health and Senior Services' Public Health and Environmental Laboratory testing completed September 21 showed weak positivity for WNV. Testing by the CDC on a subsequent specimen drawn in October was inconclusive and a third sample was drawn and sent to the CDC in November. The CDC confirmed the case on December 21.

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 total, 55 residents met WNV testing criteria and of those, 5 tested positive, 45 were negative, 4 are pending and 1 individual declined testing. In addition to human cases, birds, horses and mosquitoes also tested positive for WNV this year.

The New Jersey Departments of Health and Senior Services, Environmental Protection and Agriculture, and other federal, state, county and local health and mosquito control agencies are currently assessing strategies and actions taken this year to make modifications and improvements for reducing the risk of human and animal exposure to WNV in 2001.

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For more information on West Nile virus, visit the State Department of Health and Senior Services' website at www.state.nj.us/health, the State Department of Environmental Protection's site at www.state.nj.us/dep/mosquito, the State Department of Agriculture's site at www.state.nj.us/agriculture, or the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's site at www.cdc.gov.


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