The first human case of the West Nile Virus (WNV) was reported to a 74-year-old man from Hunterdon County, the Department of Health (DOH) that was announced.
The DOH has issued reports that three human cases of WNV have been reported in New Jersey – one in the provinces of Hunterdon, Essex and Hudson.
WNV is an arboviral disease that people can acquire through the bite of a mosquito that has fed on an infected bird. WNV is not transferred directly from birds to humans. Last year, New Jersey had eight human cases of WNV.
A total of 452 mosquito baths in all provinces of New Jersey were positive for WNV. This is 66 percent higher than the cumulative number of positive pools on week 32 in 2017 (August 5-11).
A record number of 111 WNV-positive pools was reported in week 31. This was 46 percent higher than the number of positive pools reported in week 31 last year and 82 percent higher than the 5-year average of WNV positive pools in the same period.
It is important that residents take steps to prevent mosquito bites in the entire state.
People older than 50 years and people with a weak immune system are at greater risk of developing a serious disease. Mild symptoms are flu-like and can be fever, headache, muscle pain and sometimes a skin rash. Serious symptoms can include high fever, stiff neck and swelling of the brain.
About one in 150 people will develop a more severe form of the disease. Symptoms of more serious illness include severe headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis.
Residents, entrepreneurs and contractors can take steps to reduce the mosquito populations of their properties by emptying or changing the standing water at least once a week to stop mosquito breeding. Points of interest include flowerpots, birdbaths, clogged rain gutters, plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows and containers or garbage that may be difficult to see, such as under bushes, houses or around the outside of the building. Contact with mosquitoes can also be reduced by using air conditioning if possible and ensuring that window screens are properly repaired.