Local Health Departments Remind Residents to Take Precautions

The Path of West Nile Virus

Hudson Regional Health Commission has been notified that a 25 year old female, a former Hudson County resident, has tested positive in the state lab for West Nile Virus (WNV).  She was hospitalized in Bayonne Medical Center in late July after developing flu-like symptoms including fever, headache and a stiff neck.

 “The public health investigation, conducted with the resident’s local health department, revealed that the exposure period occurred during extended travel outside of New Jersey,” stated Carrie Nawrocki, Executive Director/Epidemiologist, Hudson Regional Health Commission. “Upon return to New Jersey, the patient began feeling ill, sought medical care and was hospitalized in Bayonne Medical Center for evaluation and treatment.  She continues to follow up with her physician, and has since moved to another state where she is recovering at home.”

 To date, 53 Hudson County mosquito pools have tested positive for West Nile Virus.  Hudson County Mosquito and Vector Control, a division of Hudson Regional Health Commission, routinely collects and tests mosquitoes throughout Hudson County for the presence of West Nile Virus. “This year we have seen an unusual increase in the rates of WNV seen in mosquitoes,” said Dr. Greg Williams, Superintendent of Mosquito and Vector Control. “As a result, we have increased our surveillance efforts and spraying schedules.  It’s also important to note that evidence of WNV has happened about a month earlier than normal. Late summer and early fall are typically when we begin seeing cases of West Nile Virus. Due to the mild winter and rainy Spring, this year we began to see cases much earlier.  It is important for everyone to remember to protect themselves from mosquitoes until after the first frost.”

 WNV is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird.  WNV is not directly transmitted from birds to humans or from human to human.

Symptoms of WNV include flu-like illness with:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Nausea
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Skin rash on the chest, stomach and back
  • Severe symptoms include high fever, neck stiffness and swelling of the brain

Dr. Williams reminds residents to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites:

 Stay indoors during peak mosquito hours especially around dusk and dawn

 Cover any exposed skin with light colored clothing

 Use an EPA-registered mosquito repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus when outside

 Drain all standing water around your home to eliminate mosquito habitat.  Residents should be sure to survey their property and remove any items that can collect rain or sprinkler water.  Items such as clogged gutters, flower pots, birdbaths, children’s swimming pools, and old tires are prime breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

 Residents can check the Commission website for West Nile updates and spraying schedules at or visit the NJDHSS website at .  Residents can also follow the Mosquito Control Program on Twitter: @HCMosquito .