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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
September 12, 2003

Clifton R. Lacy, M.D.
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Tom Slater
609 984-7160
Jennifer Sciortino
609 984-7160


 
New Jersey Reports Fourth Human West Nile Virus Case This Year


 

The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) reported its fourth human case of West Nile virus (WNV) infection in New Jersey this year, Health and Senior Services Commissioner Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. announced today.

The infection was detected when a blood pool sample from a donor tested positive at a New Jersey blood bank. The donor, a 20-year old Monmouth County woman, donated blood on August 31, 2003, and developed headache, fever and mild rash later that evening. All other routine blood donor screening tests were negative.

The woman was not hospitalized and has since fully recovered. She has been contacted by the blood bank for follow-up testing, per recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Health officials stress that the woman did not contract West Nile virus from donated blood and that no one contracted WNV from her blood due to testing safeguards in place to protect the blood supply.

On July 1, 2003, New Jersey began screening donated blood for the presence of West Nile virus. Blood collection facilities are also adding screening questions to identifty and exclude people who exhibit fever and headache in the week prior to donation. At least 30 blood banks in the U.S. are capable of this testing, two of which serve New Jersey: the Amercian Red Cross/Penn Jersey Blood Bank in Philadelphia and New Jersey Blood Services in New Brunswick

Information on New Jerseyís current number of confirmed West Nile cases in humans, crows and mosquito pools is available on the DHSS web site at http://www.state.nj.us/health/ by clicking on the West Nile Virus link.The site also has information on transmission, symptoms and protective measures New Jerseyans can take.

Data regarding nationally confirmed cases and trends can be found at the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/.

New Jersey's West Nile virus surveillance, control and prevention activities 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 CDC, the State Mosquito Control Commission, the Rutgers Mosquito Research and Control Unit, and local health and mosquito control agencies.

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