More WNV Positive Birds Found In Ocean County
The Ocean County Health Department has received a positive report for West Nile Virus (WNV) from 2 blue jays collected, one in Brick and one in Manchester. To date, only three positive birds have been identified in New Jersey; all three are from Ocean County.
Terjesen stated, “So far this season, a total of sixty-two birds have been submitted from throughout New Jersey with thirteen of the birds coming from Ocean County.” Terjesen added that the dead blue jays are an indication that the virus is present in Ocean County. WNV is spread by infected mosquitoes. The mosquitoes feed on the birds, causing them to become infected and possibly die from the disease.
Freeholder Deputy Director Gerry P. Little, stated, “This is usually the time of year we begin to see WNV in crows or blue jays, which belong to the same family. If someone finds a dead crow or blue jay on their property, please call the Ocean County Health Department at 732-341-9700, ext. 7502 or toll free at 800-342-9738, ext. 7502 to report the location of the bird.”
Ella Boyd, VMD, Ocean County Health Department Public Health Coordinator, said, “Due to the condition of some dead birds, not all birds can be tested to see if they were infected with WNV. But locations of all dead crows or blue jays are recorded and can be accessed by the Ocean County Mosquito Commission.”
According to Ocean County Health Department Epidemiologist Patricia High, “Most human WNV infections produce no symptoms or mild to moderate symptoms that include fever, headache and body aches and may be accompanied by a skin rash and swollen lymph glands. More dangerous conditions among the young or elderly and persons with chronic diseases or compromised immune systems have been reported.”
According to Ms. High, 434 mosquitoes have been submitted for testing in Ocean County for the presence of the virus, with one testing positive for WNV. Statewide, almost five thousand mosquitoes have been sent to the Public Health Laboratory for testing and a total of eighty-four were positive.
“Homeowners can help curb the mosquito population by keeping their lawns and bushes trimmed, changing water frequently in bird baths and kiddie wading pools, removing old tires and other yard debris that can store standing water and keeping roof gutters clean of leaves and other matter,” said Terjesen. “WNV is mainly transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito; therefore, on-going elimination of mosquito breeding is the key to prevention of WNV transmission. Residents’ participation in the elimination of standing water around the home is critically important.”
Terjesen added that uncollected birds are not considered to be a health hazard and can be disposed of as regular trash. Residents handling any dead animal or bird should wear gloves.