By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

The New Jersey Department of Health has reported the first two human cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) of 2020.

Map of New Jersey/ National Atlas of the United States

The first case was found in a male in his 40s from Essex County, which was reported earlier this month.  A second case was confirmed in a male in his 70s from Monmouth County.

“While WNV activity in mosquitoes has been much lower than what we have seen in previous seasons, it is important that residents continue to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites especially since most WNV human cases occur in early September ,” Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said.

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.

“All of us can take part in protecting public health by taking simple steps to control the mosquito population,” New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe said. “The most important step for the home owner is to eliminate standing water on their property, to reduce areas where mosquitoes may breed and grow. Checking flower pots, pet food and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers and other places that hold water can significantly reduce the risk of mosquito bites and the illnesses they can carry. We appreciate the continued collaboration of our colleagues at the Department of Health, Department of Agriculture, Rutgers, public health workers and the county mosquito control agencies who are on the front lines working to reduce New Jersey’s mosquito population.” 

To protect against mosquito borne diseases, residents should:

  • Wear EPA-registered insect repellant
  • Avoid being outdoors during dawn and dusk when mosquitos are most active
  • Wear long sleeves and long pants
  • Cover crib, stroller and baby carrier with mosquito netting
  • Repair holes in screens to keep mosquitoes outside and use air conditioning when possible