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West Nile Virus Infections Are On The Rise In New Jersey

Monmouth County resident, a 57-year-old woman is the second person to die from West Nile virus infection this year, according to the state Department of Health.

The woman who was hospitalized at the end of August, died on Sept. 9. When she got transferred to a rehabilitation centre the state of her health was already deteriorating, said a spokesperson for the health department.

In New Jersey there are currently 10 cases of West Nile virus infections. A third person died recently in Passaic County, according to Dawn Thomas who spoke on the behalf the New Jersey Department of Health. Mosquitoes infected with the West Nile virus were also found in Ocean County, after scientists had tested mosquito pools.

In order to stop the spread of the virus, Monmouth County officials resorted to spraying to kill mosquitoes that might carry the virus. West Belmar and Spring Lake sections of Wall became a priority to the authorities as the activity of the West Nile virus was highly reported in these areas of Wall Township, New Jersey.

“We are in the middle of our peak season, but this is a typical West Nile section. Mosquito pools have tested positive in all 21 counties – meaning the West Nile virus is state wide.” reported spokeswoman Dawn Thomas.

People contract the West Nile virus through the bite of a mosquito that is infected with this virus. According to the New Jersey health department officials, the mosquitoes supposedly contract the virus from infected birds, particularly crows.

Four out of five people (80 percent) who are bitten by infected mosquitoes, do not show any symptoms. Those who do however show these symptoms, the remaining 20 percent, will suffer from skin rash, headaches, fever, often body aches and in more severe cases it can lead to brain inflammation and muscle weakness, stated the Centres For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The symptoms will develop five days to two weeks after the person is bitten by the mosquito.

People can protect themselves from being bitten by mosquitoes, by applying lemon eucalyptus oil or picaridin (a.k.a. icaridin) to their skin, since these have proven to be excellent insect repellents. In addition, in order to hinder mosquitoes from breeding and in order to kill the mosquito larvae, standing waters should be sprayed with pesticides, according to the state health department officials.



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