In a follow-up on a report earlier this week, New Jersey state health officials have reported two additional human West Nile virus (WNV) cases, bringing the total to three.
The first case was found in a 74-year old Hunterdon County resident, which was reported last week. A second case was confirmed in a 76-year old male from Essex County. Additionally, an 80-year old female from Hudson County has also been diagnosed with West Nile Virus. All three individuals were hospitalized for an average of eight days and have since been discharged.
“Residents should protect themselves by using repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants and avoiding the outdoors during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active,” said New Jersey Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal. “WNV causes mild symptoms, such as fever, headache, body aches or a rash for healthy individuals, but it can cause severe illness in the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.”
People over age 50 and people with weak immune systems are at greater risk of developing severe illness.
About one in 150 persons will develop a more severe form of the disease. Symptoms of more serious illness include severe headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis.
WNV is an arboviral disease which people can acquire through the bite of a mosquito that has fed on an infected bird. WNV is not directly transmitted from birds to humans. Last year, New Jersey had eight human cases of WNV.
As of August 7, 2018, a total of 40 states and the District of Columbia have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes in 2018. Overall, 106 cases of West Nile virus disease in people have been reported to CDC. Of these, 62 (58%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 44 (42%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease.
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