Medicine

West Nile virus death toll rises to 22

West Nile virus death toll rises to 22

Health Officials remind residents to eliminate standing water on their property.

The virus is transmitted to people through an infected mosquito, not person to person.

A 10-year old Burlington County mare is the first reported case of West Nile Virus (WNV) and an Ocean County gelding is the fourth reported case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), each serious, mosquito-borne illnesses in horses, in New Jersey for 2018.

The majority of people infected with the disease are asymptomatic, but possible symptoms are fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting or rashes on various parts of the body.

In rare cases, WNV can cause severe disease with symptoms such as muscle weakness, stiff neck, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, paralysis and coma. Healthcare providers should consider a WNV infection as a diagnosis for patients who are ill and have recently experienced mosquito bites. These individuals are urged to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes during mosquito season, which extends from June 1 through November 1.

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The elderly are more at risk of getting sick because their immune system is often weaker.

No cases were recorded in 2015 and 2016, but in 2017 the country reported five fatalities.

West Nile virus in horses is easily prevented with a safe and effective vaccine.

Dress in long-sleeved shirts, trousers and socks when you're outside.

To report mosquito problems or stagnant pools of water, call the Department of Public Works' Vector Control Division at 631-852-4270.