County Reminds Residents to take steps to Prevent West Nile Virus
The Gloucester County Board of Chosen Freeholders is reminding residents to continue to take steps to prevent West Nile virus infections. With the heavy rains experienced throughout the summer, mosquito activity still remains high.
- As of August 30th Gloucester County submitted four birds to the New Jersey Department of Health lab; none so far have tested positive for West Nile Virus. Bird testing began in mid April. The health department generally tests for crows and blue jays. The New Jersey Department of Health is finding other species of birds, such as raptors (e.g., hawks) and thrushes (e.g., robins), are also testing positive for WNV. The health department will continue accepting birds until the WNV season ends in late October.
- Residents who find a dead crow or blue jay on their property should contact the Gloucester County Department of Health at 856-218-4170 between 8:30 and 4:00pm for testing. Please keep in mind that birds that have deteriorated cannot be tested. The health department will ensure transportation of all specimens to the state lab for rapid testing and results.
- Gloucester County Public Works Mosquito Division continues to remain vigilant regarding the testing of mosquito pools for West Nile Virus. Thus far, approximately 338 mosquito pools throughout the County have been submitted for testing this year with 33 testing positive for West Nile Virus. This information helps them focus their efforts on specific target areas for pesticide applications.
West Nile virus is transmitted to people by infected mosquitoes. In the United States, most people are infected from June through September, and the number of these infections usually peaks in mid-August. Seasonal outbreaks often occur in local areas that can vary from year to year. Many factors impact when and where outbreaks occur, such as weather, numbers of mosquitoes that spread the virus, and human behavior.
Awareness is the strongest weapon regarding West Nile virus activity, and our goal is to provide residents with the actions to protect themselves and their family.
Prevent mosquito-borne diseases:
When outdoors, apply an EPA registered insect repellent to exposed skin, like those containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus, according to the instructions on the product label. Permethrin can be used to spray clothing and gear.
Also, to avoid mosquitoes, remember they are most active between dusk and dawn, so limit time outside during those hours or wear long sleeve shirts, long pants and socks sprayed with repellent while outdoors.
Mosquitoes begin to breed in any puddle or standing water that lasts for more than four days.
Get rid of mosquito breeding sites around the home by:
- Cleaning out gutters and drains
- Disposing of old tires
- Drain standing water from pool covers and ditches
- Remove all containers that hold water
- Maintain pools, spas and saunas properly
- Change birdbath water every several days
- Make sure all windows and doors have screens and that all screens are in good condition
The best way to prevent West Nile virus disease is to avoid mosquito bites. Approximately 1 in 5 people who are infected with West Nile virus will develop symptoms that may include:
- Fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash.
- Less than 1 percent will develop a serious neurological illness such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues).
- People over 50 years of age and those with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and organ transplants, are at greater risk for serious illness.
There are no medications or vaccines to treat or prevent West Nile virus infection. People with milder illnesses typically recover on their own, although symptoms may last for several weeks. In more severe cases, patients often need to be hospitalized to receive supportive treatment, such as intravenous fluids, pain medication, and nursing care. Anyone who has symptoms that cause concern should contact their health care provider.
For more information residents can visit our website at http://www.co.gloucester.nj.us/depts/h/hedss/envhealth/wnvu.asp
Or they can call 856-218-4170.
Additional information can also be found at: