Test Results as of 10/19/00
- In total, blood and/or spinal fluid samples from 49 residents have been or are in the process of being tested for the presence of WNV (Click here to view list). To date, 4 tests were positive, 28 were negative and 17 are pending. These individuals either had symptoms or signs that met the established WNV testing criteria or exhibited most of the symptoms and are from counties where dead crows and/or mosquitoes with the virus have been discovered.
- New Jersey's positive human cases include an 82-year old Little Falls man who became ill September 3, was admitted to a hospital three days later, and died September 14.
- New Jersey's other human cases include a 43-year old Jersey City man, a 54-year old man with dual residency in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Cliffside Park, Bergen County, and a 72-year old Bayonne woman. All three individuals have either recovered or are recovering.
- Human testing for WNV is being conducted at the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services' Public Health and Environmental Laboratory in Trenton and at public health labs in other states. Testing results are sent to the CDC for verification.
- Doctors of patients with symptoms that do not meet WNV testing criteria have the option of sending samples of their patients' blood to private laboratories for analysis using the St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE) screening test. Since SLE and WNV are closely related viruses, a WNV case will most likely react to a SLE test. The department has not been notified of any positive SLE tests to date.
Crow, Hawk & Falcon Testing
- To date, the Department of Health and Senior Services' lab in Trenton has accepted 1,882 birds for testing. A total of 1,104 birds (1,101 crows, a blue jay, a great horned owl and a cockatiel) found in 18 counties have tested positive for the presence of WNV. Positive birds have been found in Atlantic (2), Bergen (196, including a great horned owl), Burlington (14), Camden (8), Cape May (5, including a blue jay), Essex (102), Gloucester (5), Hudson (64), Hunterdon (6), Mercer (11), Middlesex (226), Monmouth (156, including a cockatiel), Morris (57), Ocean (20), Passaic (84), Salem (1), Somerset (37) and Union (110) Counties.
- In addition, avian testing conducted through the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife has detected WNV in 3 wild bird specimens: an American Kestrel found in Cape May, a blue jay in Middlesex, and a Cooper's Hawk found in Union County.
Mosquito & House Sparrow Testing
- Fifty-two mosquito pools collected in Bergen (22), Essex (2), Hunterdon (1), Middlesex (3), Monmouth (3), Ocean (1), Passaic (11), Sussex (6), Union (1), and Warren (2) Counties have tested positive for the presence of WNV. In total, 14,200 mosquito pools from all 21 counties have been collected by the Rutgers Mosquito Research and Control Unit and tested by the Department of Health and Senior Services and/or the CDC.
- In addition to mosquitoes, the CDC also analyzed blood samples taken from 541 house sparrows collected in Bergen, Passaic and Sussex County in late July. No sparrows with WNV were discovered in New Jersey.
Sentinel Chicken Testing
- Blood samples are taken weekly from sentinel chicken flocks placed in all 21 counties and tested by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture for the presence of WNV.
- To date, four chickens, stationed in Essex, Middlesex, Morris and Sussex Counties, have tested positive for WNV. The National Veterinary Services Lab (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa, has confirmed the test results.
- Sentinel chickens previously reported by the Monmouth County Mosquito Extermination Commission (September 18) as being positive for WNV were re-tested by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture and NSVL and were negative for the virus.
- A total of 15 horses from Atlantic (2), Burlington (2), Cape May (1), Hunterdon (1), Monmouth (4), Ocean (2) and Sussex (3) Counties have tested positive for WNV. Equine testing is conducted by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture's animal health laboratory in Trenton and results are sent to NVSL for confirmation. Seven horse deaths have been attributed to the virus.
Late Season Surveillance & Testing Plans
- As mosquito season draws to a close and the potential for WNV infection ends, statewide surveillance and testing activities for the year will be discontinued. Active human surveillance (a weekly hospital reporting system of suspect human cases) will end Oct. 31, and state lab testing for WNV in humans will end Nov. 30. Crow submissions from northern and central counties (including Mercer and Monmouth) will end Oct. 31, and submissions from southern counties will continue through the end of November. Routine WNV mosquito surveillance for the season will be discontinued this week. County government agencies, however, will continue appropriate surveillance for general mosquito control.
Additional Information & Advisories
- New Jersey residents can take personal precautions to minimize their WNV exposure risk. Such measures include spraying insect repellent on their clothing and exposed skin in accordance with labeling directions and wearing long sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors. Residents can also curb outdoor activities at dawn, dusk and during the evening. Residents should also eliminate standing water on their own property that can serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Windows screens should also be used and kept in good repair.
- 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.
- The West Nile virus was first isolated and identified in the Western Hemisphere by the CDC in September 1999 in birds found dead in New York City and Westchester County. The virus was responsible for 62 human cases of encephalitis in New York State and seven deaths. This year, there have been 14 human cases in New York City, including 10 in Staten Island. One human case has been confirmed this year in Connecticut.
- New Jersey's WNV surveillance, control and prevention efforts 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 federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the State Mosquito Control Commission, the Rutgers Mosquito Research and Control Unit, and local health and mosquito control agencies.
- 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