NJ Officials Concerned About West Nile Virus

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. May 7, 2013

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Superstorm Sandy may be responsible for more problems. New Jersey health officials say there’s the potential for an increase in West Nile virus this year.

New Jersey state epidemiologist Dr. Tina Tan says Sandy has increased the number of places with standing water where the virus-carrying mosquitoes can breed.

“It’s hard to predict what our season is going to be like or how many people might get ill from West Nile virus. So we therefore continue to ask people to take protection measures themselves to protect themselves from mosquito bites.”

Officials urge you to regularly empty water from flower pots, birdbaths, buckets, and swimming pool covers.

Bob Kent is administrator of the New Jersey office of Mosquito Control. He says Sandy has made it difficult for mosquito extermination crews to get to some areas.

“There’s a lot of vegetative debris and blown down sand debris in the way of people just getting to some of these sites. Whether it’s on foot or in some kind of tracked vehicle or by air, a lot of this assessment is taking place right now.”

Dr. Tan says human cases of West Nile virus typically don’t start until August, but officials are now testing birds for it.

“Birds are a nice early indicator of West Nile virus activity. So we do ask that homeowners when they see dead birds to report them to their local health departments. Local health departments will collect these birds for testing.”

48 people were infected by West Nile in New Jersey last year, and six of them died.


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