First case of West Nile Virus in Camden County reported

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(Gloucester Township, NJ) – The Camden County Department of Health and Human Services (CCDHHS) has been notified that a 68-year-old woman is Camden County’s first confirmed case of West Nile Virus (WNV) for this year. The county health department has investigated the case, and is working with the Camden County Mosquito Control Commission to conduct additional spraying and mosquito testing in the area.

“The Camden County Health Department encourages you to use insect repellents and take extra precautions if you are outside during peak biting hours. You may also want to wear long sleeves and long pants if you are in your yard between dusk and dawn,” said Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez, liaison to the CCDHHS. “While the chance of becoming ill is relatively small, there are things you can do to protect yourself and your family.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the main route of human infection with West Nile Virus is through the bite of an infected mosquito.  Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Individuals over the age of 50 are more likely to develop serious symptoms of West Nile Virus, and should take special care to avoid being bitten.

To safeguard against the pests, the Camden County Mosquito Commission regularly checks several thousand suspected mosquito-breeding sites across the county. Mosquito spraying is scheduled on an as needed basis based upon the results of their surveillance efforts.

“Our county mosquito commission works with the Public Health Environmental Laboratories in Trenton to verify the presence of West Nile Virus in their samples,” said Freeholder Jeffrey Nash, liaison to the Camden County Mosquito Commission.  “When a pool tests positive for West Nile Virus, the mosquito Commission returns within 24 hours to spray the area.”

Residents should check their property for any object that holds water for more than a few days.  All pre-adult mosquito stages (eggs, larvae, and pupae) must be in stagnant water in order to develop into adult mosquitoes.                                                                                                

  • Swimming pools are a common problem.  All pools must be checked and maintained to keep them mosquito-free.  Swimming pools can breed mosquitoes within days after you stop adding chlorine or other disinfectant.  Pool covers can catch rainwater and become a mosquito development site. Add a little chlorine to kill mosquitoes.
  • Maintain screens to prevent adult mosquitoes from entering your home or business.
  • Personal protection is strongly urged if you are outside when mosquitoes may be active—generally dawn and dusk.  Insect repellants containing between 10-35% DEET are very effective, however, be sure to follow the label directions and take extra precautions with children and infants.

The Camden County Mosquito Commission suggests checking around your yard for mosquito breeding containers.  The following is a checklist of tips to help eliminate mosquito breeding:

  • Dispose of unnecessary containers that hold water.  Containers you wish to save turn upside down or put holes in the bottom so all water drains out.   
  • Lift up flowerpots and dump the water from the dish underneath every week.
  • Stock fish or add mosquito larvicide to ornamental ponds.
  • Change water in bird baths, fountains, and animal troughs weekly.
  • Screen vents to septic and other water tanks.
  • Store small boats upside down and large boats so they drain.  If covered, keep the tarp tight so water does not pool on top of the tarp.
  • Do not dump leaves or grass clippings into a catch basin or streams.
  • Do not allow water to collect on sagging tarps or awnings.
  • Do not allow trashcan lids to fill with water.
  • Check downspouts that are able to hold enough water to allow mosquito larvae to mature.

For more information, or to report a problem, contact the Camden County Mosquito Commission at (856) 566-2945 or skeeters@camdencounty.com.