“The Ocean County Health Department (OCHD) has received the first positive results for West Nile Virus (WNV) identified in a crow collected from Point Pleasant Borough on July 5th,” said Ocean County Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little, Liaison to the Ocean County Board of Health. “In addition, four other birds tested positive in the state; two in Monmouth, one in Morris and one in Burlington Counties.”
“According to the Ocean County Mosquito Commission, one positive mosquito pool was identified in Point Pleasant Beach during a sampling done on July 6th. The Mosquito Commission is now trapping for mosquitoes in the areas that the positive bird was found, in addition to their county-wide surveillance,” said Daniel Regenye, OCHD Public Health Coordinator. “The Ocean County Health Department works closely with the Ocean County Mosquito Commission to identify areas of positive mosquito pools.”
Jennifer Crawford, Supervisor of the OCHD Communicable Disease Division said, “This is usually the time of the year that we begin to get reports of WNV identified in dead birds and confirmed by the New Jersey Department of Health. County residents can help the Health Department control WNV by reporting dead crows, blue jays or other birds that they find on their property to the department at 732-341-9700, ext. 7515, or toll free at 800-342-9738, ext. 7515.” Crawford added, “Due to the condition of some dead birds, not all birds can be tested to see if they were infected with WNV but locations of all dead crows, blue jays or other birds are recorded and can be accessed by the Ocean County Mosquito Commission. Uncollected birds are not considered to be a health hazard and can be disposed of as regular trash.
Residents handling any dead animal or bird should wear gloves and use a shovel.” According to Crawford, “Most human WNV infections produce no symptoms or mild to moderate symptoms that include fever, headache and body aches and may be accompanied by a skin rash and swollen lymph glands. More dangerous conditions among the young or elderly and persons with chronic diseases or compromised immune systems have been reported.”
Leslie Terjesen, OCHD Public Information Officer, pointed out the importance of homeowners surveying their property and removing any items that can collect rainwater. “Homeowners can help curb the mosquito population by keeping their lawns and bushes trimmed, change water frequently in bird baths and kiddy wading pools, remove old tires and other yard debris that can store standing water and keep roof gutters clean of leaves and other matter,” said Terjesen. “WNV is mainly transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito; therefore, on-going elimination of mosquito breeding is the key to prevention of WNV transmission. Residents’ participation in the elimination of standing water around the home is critically important.
In addition to eliminating standing water around the home, residents should take the following precautions:
• Limit outdoor activities at dawn and dusk, when possible.
• Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever outdoors, weather permitting.
• Make sure screen doors and windows are in good condition.
• When going outside, use an insect repellent containing DEET on skin or clothing, or a repellent containing permethrin on clothing. DO NOT use repellants on children less than 3 years old.
ALWAYS USE REPELLANTS ACCORDING TO THE DIRECTIONS ON THE LABEL.