News Release
   
   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
   January 16, 2001

Christine Grant
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Marilyn Riley
609-984-7160

 
West Nile Virus Update

TRENTON - Laboratory testing completed last week by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have confirmed that a sixth New Jersey resident was infected with the West Nile virus (WNV) in 2000.

The resident, a 45 year-old Atlantic Highlands (Monmouth County) man, went to his doctor's office on Oct. 2 with a five-day history of fever and headache. He was not admitted to a hospital and his symptoms subsided.

A sample of the man's blood, drawn in his doctor's office and sent to a commercial laboratory for analysis, was determined to be positive for the presence of WNV antibodies in late October. The CDC received a blood sample in November and also found WNV antibodies. Confirmatory testing on additional samples was completed Jan. 12, 2001.

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, 6 tested positive, 45 were negative, 3 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 last 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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