After the state's first confirmed death from West Nile Virus last week, the Middlesex County Mosquito Commission will be spraying the north Kendall Park area on Wednesday.
An elderly Burlington County man who had tested positive for West Nile Virus died last week, making him New Jersey's first death from the virus this year, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The Willingboro man came down with a fever, fatigue and respiratory distress before passing away.
There are now 15 confirmed West Nile Virus cases in New Jersey, according to the DEP. The 15 cases of West Nile Virus have occurred in 12 counties: Bergen (1), Burlington (1), Camden (1), Essex (2), Gloucester (1), Hudson (1), Mercer (1), Middlesex (1), Monmouth (1), Ocean (3), Passaic (1) and Salem (1).
“This is peak West Nile Virus season and, like the rest of the nation, high mosquito activity is contributing to the spread of the virus,” New Jersey Health Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd said in a statement. “Residents should protect themselves by using repellent, wearing long sleeves, long pants and by removing standing water on their property that breeds mosquitoes.”
West Nile Virus is transmitted to horses and humans when they are bitten by infected mosquitoes. The virus generally causes no symptoms or only mild flu-like symptoms. However, those over 50 years old or those with a compromised immune system are at a higher risk of more severe disease.
West Nile Virus has also been detected in the Asian tiger mosquito, which is troubling because, unlike other mosquitoes, it can thrive in relatively small amounts of water. The Asian tiger mosquito also feeds during the day, in addition to dusk and dawn.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) is a mosquito-borne infection of wild birds that can be transmitted to other birds, humans, horses and other animals by mosquitoes. It occurs in the eastern half of the United States and is regarded as one of the more serious mosquito-borne diseases. There is an effective EEE vaccine for horses and birds, but there is no licensed EEE vaccine for people.
While cases of EEE in humans are rare, they are serious when they occur. EEE attacks the central nervous system, causing sudden fever, muscle pains and a headache of increasing severity, often followed quickly by seizures and coma. Horse owners should make sure they vaccinate their horses against EEE, to protect their animals and any humans they come into contact with.
As part of Middlesex County's Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) program, the commission will be conducting truck mounted Ultra-low volume spraying in an attempt to reduce the number of nuisance mosquitoes in the specified area.
The pesticide being applied breaks down rapidly in the environment, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and it poses "no unreasonable health risk" when applied according to label directions. The EPA does not require relocating or taking special precautions during spraying.
Spraying will be conducted between Finnegans Lane and Sandhills Road between the hours of 7 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.
The commission recommends the following precautions for residents:
- Avoid being directly in the line of spray during the application. This product will dissipate within 30 minutes of being applied.
- Air conditioning units may be set to circulate internal air.
- Fruits and vegetables from a garden should be washed before eating, the same as if they were purchased from a food store. Bring pets, pet food and water dishes inside, and cover ornamental fishponds during the spray period to avoid direct exposure.
People with severe respiratory problems should heed items 1 and 2. Consult your health care provider if you think you are experiencing health effects from spraying.
If residents wish further information, they can contact their local health department or call the National Pesticide Information Center 1.800.858.7378 or visit their website at the following link: http://npic.orst.edu.