West Nile Caution Urged

September 17, 2015
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Use Bug Spray, Avoid Standing Water

West Nile virus (WNV) is most commonly transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. Credit: CDC.gov

West Nile virus (WNV) is most commonly transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. Credit: CDC.gov

By John Burton

The state Department of Health said on Thursday that a second confirmed case of West Nile virus has been diagnosed in Monmouth County.

Donna Leusner, the department’s director of communication, said the department only provides county-level information, not information about the patient or the community where the case was reported.

Currently there are 16 reported cases in New Jersey this season, which traditionally runs until October, according to Leusner.

Officials are urging Monmouth County residents to take precautions against mosquito bites by regularly using bug repellant, as September is the peak time for the West Nile virus to spread.

This year, every county in the state has been found to have mosquitoes testing positive for the virus, which traditionally is spread from April to October.

Monmouth County’s second case of West Nile virus this year struck a young area boy.

According to information that could not be independently verified by press time on Wednesday, the child came down with the symptoms of the virus last weekend.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, infected mosquitoes have been the source of transmission in the U.S. for this encephalitis virus.

Symptoms of the virus, which should not be dismissed or ignored, include a stiff neck and a rash, as well as symptoms related to influenza-like fever, headache, fatigue and swollen glands.

The child is expected to make a full recovery being otherwise healthy.

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This is the second case in Monmouth County, with the last instance resulting in death. A 57-year-old woman infected with the virus died on Sept. 9, according to the state Department of Health.

Donna Leusner, the director of communications for the State Department of Health, said as a matter of policy, the department only makes public the county, but other media outlets have said the woman had been a Wall resident.

She was one of two fatalities in New Jersey related to the virus this season, with Leusner saying the other victim was from Passaic.

Leusner said on Wednesday she had no information of any additional infections in Monmouth County at this point but noted the department of health releases that information weekly and not before.

As it stands there have been a reported 10 cases in the state this year, according to Leusner.

The virus is not contagious and isn’t transmitted from person-to-person.

And those in other wise general good health will likely make a full recovery. The virus, however, can be deadly for the elderly, the very young and those with compromised immune systems.

Laura Kirkpatrick, director of the county Office of Communications and Tourism, said this has been an average year for mosquitoes in Monmouth County. But continued evidence of the virus activity in the West Belmar section of Wall required the county Mosquito Control Division to spray insecticide in that and the Spring Lake Heights areas last week.

The key to prevention is “always wear insect repellant” while outside to avoid mosquito bites, as well as keeping anything that can, from collecting water.

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Flowerpots, pool covers, toys and anything else should be checked regularly for pooling water and emptied; and bird baths should have their water changed every couple of days to keep mosquitoes from having a easily accessible breeding area. Kirkpatrick said.

“Something as small as a water bottle cap,” with water is large enough for the Asian tiger mosquito – a particularly aggressive type that is found in Monmouth County – to breed, Kirkpatrick noted.

“Remember, water plus seven days equals mosquitoes,” she said.

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