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Thursday, September 10, 2015

West Nile Virus Found in More Northfield Mosquito Samples

The Atlantic County Office of Mosquito Control has scheduled two ground sprays for Northfield following the confirmation of four additional mosquito samples that tested positive for West Nile virus, a potentially fatal mosquito-borne illness.

The ground sprays will be conducted on Saturday, September 12 and Monday, September 14, weather permitting, between 4 and 5:30 AM both days to help reduce the population of adult mosquitoes that may transmit West Nile virus.

The Northfield ground sprays will target the area bounded by Mt. Vernon Avenue, Shore Road, Oak View Drive, Wabash Avenue, Tilton Road, Infield Avenue, and First Avenue. Ground spraying will be done using Scourge, the trade name for resmethrin, applied as an ultra-low volume aerosol.

The Environmental Protection Agency does not require relocating or taking special precautions during mosquito control spraying, however, people may choose to avoid or minimize exposure by:

• Staying indoors during application to immediate area
• Keeping windows shut, window fans and window air conditioners off ( or set to circulate indoor air) during spraying
• Keeping children’s toys indoors
• Keeping pets indoors, as well as their food, water dishes and toys.

To date there have been a total of 10 positive mosquito samples in Atlantic County this year - three in Hammonton, two in Ventnor and five in Northfield. The first positive sample was reported in Hammonton on August 27. Ground sprays have previously been conducted in Ventnor, Margate and Hammonton.

West Nile virus can be transmitted to birds, animals and humans from infected mosquitoes. Areas with standing water, particularly in warm weather, provide ideal conditions for mosquitoes to breed.

There have been seven reported cases of human infection in New Jersey in 2015 and one death - an elderly resident of Passaic County.

Most infections are mild but those over age 50 and those with weakened immune systems are at greater risk for more serious illness. Flu-like symptoms may include fever, headache, body aches, skin rashes and swollen lymph glands. More serious illness may lead to meningitis, encephalitis, coma or death.

The Division of Public Health works with the Office of Mosquito Control to track the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses, such as West Nile Virus. Crows and certain other birds are particularly susceptible to the virus and may indicate the presence of the disease in a specific area. Birds that have died within the past 24 hours may be reported and evaluated for testing.

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. Repellents are an important tool to assist people in protecting themselves from mosquito-borne diseases. The Centers for Disease Control recommends the use of products containing active ingredients which have been registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use as repellents applied to skin and clothing and approved for efficacy and human safety when applied as directed. Be sure to follow product directions carefully and consult with your child’s doctor prior to using 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. Mosquitoes do not travel far from where they breed.

* Clean clogged gutters; check and repair screen doors.

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

For information and assistance in removing stagnant water from your property, call the Office of Mosquito Control at (609) 645-5948.

Mosquito Spray Advisory

Learn more about West Nile Virus.

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