No human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in New Jersey so far this year, but it’s been detected in mosquitoes in more than half of the counties in the state.
Scott Crans is the administrator of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s office of mosquito control coordination. He says the hot, dry weather is holding down the number of mosquitoes in many parts of the state, but a continued lack of rainfall could lead to the spread of West Nile virus.
“Where water starts to become in short supply, the mosquitoes and the birds are coming together taking advantage of those same water sources. So they wind up with more exposure so more mosquitoes biting more birds spreading the virus if either the birds or the mosquitoes are infected.”
State epidemiologist Dr. Tina Tan says West Nile activity usually increases in August and September.
She says you can take steps to reduce your chances of being bit by mosquitoes.
“Use insect repellent, follow the directions. If you can tolerate it, wear long sleeve shirts and long pants. And also mosquito proof your home and your yard. Make sure you fix those window screens. And also make sure you empty or change the outdoor standing water because those are areas that breed mosquitoes.”