Test Results as of 8/31/00
- There have been no confirmed human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) infection in New Jersey. The virus has been confirmed this year in birds and mosquitoes.
- Blood and/or spinal fluid samples from 19 residents have been or are in the process of being tested for the presence of WNV (Click here to view list). To date, samples from 5 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 and/or mosquitoes 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. DHSS testing results are sent to the CDC for verification.
- 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, 470 birds (469 crows and a cockatiel) found in 10 counties have tested positive for the presence of WNV. Positive birds have been found in Bergen (96), Essex (63), Hudson (48), Mercer (1), Middlesex (114), Monmouth (54), Morris (6), Passaic (36), Somerset (2) and Union (50) Counties. The tests were conducted at the Department of Health and Senior Services' lab in Trenton. A total of 1,047 crows have been accepted for testing this year.
Mosquito & House Sparrow Testing
- Five mosquito pools collected in Bergen County have tested positive for the presence of WNV. More than 1,400 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 1,115 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 taken weekly from sentinel chicken flocks placed in all 21 counties and tested by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture have all tested negative for the presence of WNV 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. 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 6 cases in New York City, including 5 in Staten Island.
- 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 at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/q&a.htm.