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West Nile Virus Concern In The Garden State [AUDIO]

All of the wild stormy weather we’ve had over the past week or so has left numerous small pools of standing water across the Garden State, which is perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

That’s raising concerns about West Nile virus.

Bob Kent, the Administrator of the Department of Environmental Protection Office of Mosquito Control Coordination, says the first the first human case of West Nile virus in Jersey this year was confirmed at the end of last week in Ocean County.

“We’ve had an early season for mosquitoes, we’ve had a mild winter, we’ve discovered West Nile virus in the mosquito population earlier than usual, so yeah, it’s on our radar – we’re looking forward to a pretty nasty August and September and maybe part of October.”

He says, “Last year we had 7 human cases, the year before that we had 30 – the year before that we had 3…We know West Nile is in the state and we’re doing the best we can to try and keep ahead of it.”

Kent adds West Nile virus can be serious or asymptomatic.

“There are cases where people have developed no symptoms, but symptoms can be flu-like – they can be very, very mild – a headache, a fever, a muscle ache, but you can also have severe headaches, sensitivity to light, very, very extreme flu-like symptoms…And West Nile Virus can also be fatal…We’re concerned about West Nile because some people, no matter how old they are, don’t seem to be affected by it – while others get seriously ill. We used to say it affects the very young and the very old and those with compromised immune systems but that’s not necessarily true.”

Because of the potential threat, he says Jersey residents should always do their best to remove any standing water on their property, because that’s where mosquitoes will lay their eggs – and regular insect repellent can be sprayed on your skin to keep mosquitoes away.

“There are even some creams and fragrances that are on the market that have a repellant character to them.”

He adds, “If an individual is suspicious of having contracted West Nile virus, best thing to do is see a physician, go to the hospital…But the best thing is try to let the body heal itself- there are no vaccines, or antibiotics that will work.”

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