Test Results as of 8/17/00
- There have been no confirmed human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) infection in New Jersey. The virus has only been confirmed this year in birds.
- Blood and/or spinal fluid samples from 15 residents have been or are in the process of being tested for the presence of WNV. To date, samples from 2 residents have tested negative and the other test results are still 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 with the virus have been discovered.
- Human testing for WNV is now being conducted at the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services' Public Health and Environmental Laboratory in Trenton. Samples collected earlier this season are being or were tested for WNV by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or by public health labs in other states.
- The department has also been contacted by doctors of more than 2 dozen patients with symptoms that did not meet all WNV testing criteria. The physicians were given 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, 165 birds (164 crows and a cockatiel) found in 9 counties have tested positive for the presence of WNV. Positive birds have been found in Bergen (51), Essex (10), Hudson (18), Middlesex (40), Monmouth (13), Morris (1), Passaic (17), Somerset (1) and Union (14) Counties. Negative birds have been found in these and all other counties. The tests were conducted at the Department of Health and Senior Services' lab in Trenton: the CDC confirmed early season results.
- To date, all mosquito samples collected by the Rutgers Mosquito Research and Control Unit and tested by the Department of Health and Senior Services for the presence of the WNV have been negative. Samples have been submitted from all 21 counties.
Sentinel Chicken Testing
- Blood samples 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 have all been negative to date.
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.
- 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. No New Jersey resident was diagnosed with WNV in 1999 and no state resident has tested positive for WNV in 2000.
- 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 Environmental Protection's website 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/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/q&a.htm.