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For Release:
June 21, 2007

Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.

For Further Information Contact:
Marilyn Riley

New Jersey Reports first positive bird for West Nile Virus DHSS: Residents should take preventive measures



New Jersey has recorded its first bird testing positive for West Nile virus (WNV) in 2007, marking the official start of the WNV season, the Department of Health and Senior Services announced today. 


“Now is the time to take steps to protect yourself and your community. Remove standing water on your property so mosquitoes can’t breed there, and check the condition of your window and door screens,” said Commissioner Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.


“It’s also important to take personal precautions, such as using mosquito repellent, wearing long sleeves and long pants when practical and avoiding outdoor activity when mosquitoes are most active,” Dr. Jacobs added.


So far this season, 27 birds have been tested in the department’s Public Health and Environmental Laboratories. The positive bird was from Jackson, Ocean County, and was submitted to the labs on June 19.  Eighty-five mosquito pools have been tested so far, but all have tested negative.  There have been no human cases in 2007. WNV is not directly transmitted from birds to humans.



To reduce favorable mosquito breeding conditions, residents should:


  • clean or remove items where rain or sprinkler water can gather, such as clogged gutters, flower pots, car tires or garbage can lids;
  • regularly change the water in kiddie pools or bird baths;
  • remove any other standing water sources; and
  • check with your county mosquito control agency to see if it stocks mosquito-eating fish suitable for ornamental ponds as part of a cooperative program with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.


To protect yourself and your family:


  • apply insect repellent with DEET to clothing and exposed skin according to directions on the label;
  • wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants outdoors when the weather permits;
  • limit outdoor activities at dawn, dusk and in the evening; and
  • check window and door screens for tears and repair if needed.


 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.


About one in 150 people infected with WNV, or less than one percent, will develop a more severe form of the disease. Symptoms of the more severe disease can include severe headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis. The elderly are at higher risk of more severe disease.


New Jersey's WNV and Eastern Equine encephalitis surveillance, control and prevention activities involve the coordinated efforts of a number of federal, state and local agencies.


These include DHSS, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the New Jersey Departments of Environmental Protection and Agriculture, the State Mosquito Control Commission, the Rutgers Mosquito Research and Control Unit, and local health and mosquito control agencies.


For more information on WNV and New Jersey's efforts to limit its impact, visit the DHSS West Nile web page at, the Department of Environmental Protection’s web page at

or call 1-888-NO-NJ WNV.


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