What to Know
- A ninth person in New Jersey has tested positive this season for West Nile Virus, health officials announced
- The state’s Department of Health also found that there's an increase in the number of mosquitos testing positive for the virus throughout NJ
- Officials say, as of Sept. 1, the cases of West Nile Virus come from Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Ocean & Somerset counties
The state’s Department of Health also found that there is an increase in the number of mosquitos testing positive for the virus throughout New Jersey.
According to officials, as of Sept. 1, the nine human cases of West Nile Virus come from Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Ocean and Somerset counties.
A total of 767 mosquito pools have tested positive for the West Nile Virus — an uptick from the 549 pools found in the same time period last year, according to a Department of Health report. This marks a 40 percent increase.
Officials determined that 63 percent of the West Nile positive pools this season were reported in weeks 31 to 34, which is a higher figure than the cumulative number of positive pools reported during the same time in 2017 and higher than the 5-year average of West Nile Virus positive pools reported during the same time period.
The state’s report also shows that, as of week 35, Bergen County has reported over 100 positive pools.
Additionally, 15 counties are reporting increased West Nile Virus activity this season.
“We are closely monitoring West Nile Virus in the mosquito population and are experiencing higher than normal levels this year in Bergen County and other parts of the state. Bergen County officials are investigating confirmed and suspect human cases and have conducted mosquito control activities in these areas,” Matthew Bickerton, an entomologist with the Bergen County Department of Health Services, said.
Bickerton adds that in order to reduce the chance of becoming infected from West Nile Virus, individuals “must remove any standing water on their property and use EPA-registered insect repellent when outdoors.”
The West Nile Virus is an infection that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito, according to the state’s Department of Health. The infection was identified in the country in 1999 and is most often seen during the summer and early fall months.
While anyone can get infected with the virus, people over 50 years of age and those with weak immune systems are at greater risk of developing severe illness, health officials say.
Mild symptoms are flu-like and include fever, headache, body aches and sometimes a rash. Severe symptoms can include high fever, stiff neck and swelling of the brain.
Though there is no specific treatment, the best way to prevent the disease is to avoid mosquito bites, according to the Department of Health.