- The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services today
reported that blood samples drawn from a 75 year-old Harrison (Hudson
County) woman reveal she was exposed to the West Nile virus (WNV)
this summer. She is currently in a good state of health and has
returned to work.
woman, who has a cardiac condition, was admitted in mid-August to
West Hudson Hospital with symptoms that included fever, nausea and
a headache. She regularly spent a great deal of time outdoors, and
had traveled to the West Coast and the Jersey Shore just prior to
infectious disease tests on the patient were negative. She was transferred
to St. Michael's Hospital in Newark for additional testing related
to her heart condition. Her health subsequently improved and she
was discharged in late August.
tests at a private lab, and in mid-September at the DHSS lab, showed
the patient had been exposed to WNV, but were inconclusive as to
whether the patient was infected this season or in a previous year.
More comprehensive tests conducted at the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC) confirmed late last week that the infection
was from this season.
the patient did not have either meningitis or encephalitis, and
because blood samples tested in our lab were compatible with an
infection before this year, we could not say with confidence that
her illness was due to acute West Nile virus infection," said
Assistant Commissioner and State Epidemiologist Eddy Bresnitz, MD.
"The additional tests conducted by the CDC revealed an increase
in antibody production from the initial to a convalescent serum
that is consistent with a more recent infection."
on the date of her onset of symptoms, the patient was most likely
bitten by an infected mosquito in late-July or early August. Since
then, mosquito control activities, colder weather and shorter days
have reduced the risk of further WNV transmission this year.
of this case brings to eight the number of New Jersey residents
detected with WNV this season. In addition to people, the virus
has also been found in 1,071 crows, 322 mosquito pools and in 24
horses this year. In 2000, testing confirmed the presence of WNV
in six state residents and numerous birds, mosquitoes and horses.
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 and those with
compromised immune systems are at a higher risk of more severe disease.
Nile virus infection is preventable. For more information on precautions
citizens can take to reduce the risk of WNV, visit the state's WNV
Resources webpage at www.state.nj.us/governor/westnile.
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