DIVISION OF PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICES
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
Mosquito and Vector Control
Press Release - October 21, 2003
Contact: Carl Rachel, County Health Department Public Information Officer
Contact: Tadhgh Rainey, Program Coordinator, West Nile Virus Mosquito and Black Fly Control Program
FLEMINGTON - An 80-year-old man from the Delaware Township region of the county tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV) infection, reported John Beckley, director of the Hunterdon County Department of Health. The patient, who exhibited initial symptoms of fever, altered mental status, muscle weakness, and stiff neck, was hospitalized on September 25 with a diagnosis of meningitis. He was discharged on October 8, and is now recovering in a rehabilitation facility. This is the first confirmed case of WNV in a Hunterdon County resident.
As of Friday, October 17, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services reported 26 confirmed human cases statewide. "People throughout Hunterdon County remain at risk for West Nile virus," Beckley explained. "Until extended periods of cold weather develop, the mosquito population remains active. For that reason, we're reminding everyone to continue to take measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Even though there's no treatment for West Nile virus, it's completely reventable by avoiding the bite of an infected mosquito."
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. WNV infection generally causes no symptoms or just mild, flu-like symptoms. However, in the elderly or those with compromised immune systems the virus can cause very serious, even life threatening, complications.
Information about the county's WNV control program can be found at http://www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/health/westnile.htm. For a statewide WNV perspective, visit http://www.state.nj.us/health/ and click the West Nile Virus link. More information about WNV and nationally confirmed cases and trends can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/.