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Suspected West Nile Virus Reported In Monmouth County, New Jersey

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Officials in Monmouth County, New Jersey said they have evidence of West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes in the county. West Nile virus (WNV) is an arbovirus (arthropod-borne virus) typically spread by infected mosquitos that can cause encephalitis, meningitis and febrile illness.

According to the Monmouth County's mosquito control department, they will carry out ground spraying activities on Tuesday morning in various selected areas. Middletown's Hillside section, several areas in Atlantic Highlands, Lake Como, Wall Township's West Belmar section, Spring Lake and Spring Lake Heights are said to be affected.

The announcement said the ground-spraying on Tuesday will be conducted between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. Officials advised the residents to stay inside their homes and protect their pets during the spraying activity.

According to Freeholder Deputy Director Serena DiMaso, the ground-spraying activity's goal is to lower the public health risk linked to the WNV suspected in the area. DiMaso added that they have seen proof that past spraying activities helped lower mosquito populations in towns located in southern Monmouth.

"It is also important to remember to always protect yourself from mosquitoes by wearing insect repellant when outdoors, even if it is only for a few minutes," said DiMaso.

They were also advised to bring in pet bowls and children's toys inside so they won't be affected by the scheduled ground spraying. Residents are also asked to turn off any intake fans in their window air conditioners.

County officials also issued some recommendations to help residents avoid mosquito bites. These include applying insect repellent whenever they are outdoors, checking for standing water in their homes and properties and properly discarding them, and wearing pants and long-sleeved upper garments whenever it is possible.

On July 14, the Department of Health confirmed New Jersey's first human case of WNV infection. According to the health agency, the infected individual was a 48-year-old man from Camden County who first experienced the symptoms on July 8. These indicators included altered mental state, headaches and encephalitis, which led him to be hospitalized.

"The Camden County Health Department encourages you to use insect repellents and take extra precautions if you are outside during peak biting hours," said Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez from the Department of Health and Human Services in Camden County.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that incubation period for WNV typically takes two to six days. However, this can also range from two to 14 days. Patients who take drugs that affect the body's immune system may have longer incubation periods.

Photo: Katja Schulz | Flickr

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