New Jersey health officials have reported the first human West Nile virus (WNV) case in Hunterdon County. There are two other reports under investigation.

Map of New Jersey/ National Atlas of the United States
Map of New Jersey/ National Atlas of the United States

The state saw eight cases, including two fatalities in 2017.

The most recent Vector- borne Surveillance Report also reports 180 mosquito pools from 19 counties have tested positive for WNV. This is 55 percent higher than the cumulative number of positive pools at week 30 in 2017.

West Nile virus is typically transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can cause severe illness in people and horses, although only about 20 percent of those infected will develop any symptoms at all.

Those who do develop symptoms usually report fever, headache, body aches, and muscle weakness. Rarely, individuals might experience more severe symptoms including high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, and/or encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain.  These severe cases can lead to paralysis or death, and usually occur in those over 50 years old.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of August 7, 2018, a total of 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.