NJ: Nine more people tested for West Nile virus

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NJ: Nine more people tested for West Nile virus

By John P. Mcalpin, Associated Press, 9/14/2000 16:14

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) Nine more New Jersey residents have been tested for the sometimes fatal West Nile virus, state Health Department officials announced Thursday.

A 54-year-old man may be New Jersey's second confirmed case, but he has homes in Brooklyn and in Cliffside Park. New York City health officials tested him, and he is in a New York hospital.

New Jersey officials say they don't know where the man contracted the disease.

''Until we get more information on this case, we are both counting him,'' Health Department spokesman Dennis McGowan said Thursday.

Samples have been taken from 31 people who showed symptoms of the disease and lived in counties where dead crows have been found infected with the virus.

Twelve tests have been negative, and results are still pending in 17 other cases.

Most of the patients tested appear to have other medical conditions, but doctors still ordered the test for West Nile, McGowan said.

''They are showing symptoms of lots and lots of other illnesses,'' the spokesman said.

The unidentified, second man was admitted to a New York hospital on Sept. 4, where he remains in stable condition, according to McGowan.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention verified tests taken by the New York City Health Department on Tuesday.

Just as in the first New Jersey case, a 43-year-old from Jersey City, state officials cannot say exactly where the latest victim was infected.

There have been seven cases of human infection in New York City this year. The virus caused 62 human cases of encephalitis and seven deaths in New York last year.

The virus has now been detected in 16 of New Jersey's 21 counties. This week, Ocean County joined the list of places where infected birds have been found.

The state announced that 140 more dead crows have been collected and found to be infected with the virus.

Altogether, the state said Thursday that tests have found 725 dead crows and one cockatiel collected around New Jersey were infected with the virus, which first was identified in this country last September.

Two horses in the state appeared to have been infected as well. Both animals were euthanized.

Residents are urged to protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing long clothing and insect repellant. People have been told to clear all pools of standing water where mosquitoes breed.

The virus is transmitted through the bite of mosquitoes, which acquired it by feeding on infected birds. Generally, it causes flulike symptoms or no problems at all, but it can be dangerous to young children, the elderly and anyone with a weakened immune system.

All 21 counties in the state have increased mosquito-control efforts, state officials said. Many of those programs include spraying pesticides to kill the mosquitoes at various stages of development.

Infected birds have been found in Bergen (162), Burlington (2), Cape May (1), Essex (80), Gloucester (1), Hudson (59), Hunterdon (1), Mercer (5), Middlesex (148), Monmouth (114), Morris (15), Ocean (2), Passaic (52), Somerset (5) and Union (79) counties.

The state has tested 1,377 crows this year.


-- Carl Jenkins (Somewherepress@aol.com), September 15, 2000

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