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Friday, July 11, 2003

Atlantic County Crow Tests Positive for West Nile Virus

Atlantic County encountered its first West Nile Virus case of the year when a dead crow tested positive for the virus. State laboratory tests confirmed that the crow was infected with the mosquito-borne disease.

Officials from the Atlantic County Division of Public Health collected the crow on July 2 from a residential property on Moss Mill Road in Mullica Township. The Atlantic County Division of Public Health and Office of Mosquito Control are conducting mosquito surveillance and providing educational materials to Mullica Township residents.

This is the first confirmed case of West Nile Virus in Atlantic County in 2003. Last year 30 crows, three horses and 23 mosquito pools in the county were infected with the disease. No human cases of West Nile Virus have been documented in Atlantic County since the initial discovery of the disease in the United States in 1999.

West Nile Virus is commonly found in Africa, West Asia and the Middle East. The virus can be transmitted to birds, animals and humans from infected mosquitoes. Crows are particularly vulnerable to West Nile Virus. Testing crows that have been dead for no more than 24 hours can help health officials determine if the virus is present in a particular region.

"Although the risk of human West Nile Virus infection is relatively low, all Atlantic County residents should work together to prevent this disease by following the advice of public health and mosquito control officials," explained Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson.

Health officials encourage residents to prevent the spread of West Nile Virus by following these simple steps:

* Avoid mosquito bites by using an insect repellent whenever going outdoors. According to the Centers for Disease Control, only repellents containing DEET offer long-lasting protection after a single application. Be sure to follow product directions carefully and use repellent containing less than 10 percent DEET on children.

* Rid properties of mosquito breeding grounds by draining standing water. Buckets, bird baths, flower pots and other containers can hold water and provide an ideal environment for mosquitoes. Be sure to empty these containers regularly.

* Report dead crows to the Atlantic County Division of Public Health by calling 609-645-5971.

For more information about West Nile Virus, visit the Atlantic County Web site at: or call 609-645-5935. For information or assistance in draining standing water from your property, call the Atlantic County Office of Mosquito Control at 609-645-5948.

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