Protect Yourself From West Nile Virus With These Tips

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NEW JERSEY – Now up to three human cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) in New Jersey, officials of the Murphy administration are urging residents to practice caution and safeguard themselves against the mosquito-borne disease.

Department of Health and Department of Environmental Protection officials remind residents that keeping the insects out of their residences and off their skin are most effective.

“Residents should protect themselves by using repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants and avoiding the outdoors during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active,” said New Jersey Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal. “WNV causes mild symptoms, such as fever, headache, body aches or a rash for healthy individuals, but it can cause severe illness in the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.”

Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe recommends that eliminating standing water from your property, securing window screens and using air conditioning as other good ways to protect yourself from mosquitos. Pay special attention to flower pots, birdbaths, clogged rain gutters, plastic wading pools, wheelbarrows, and trash containers, as these areas can draw mosquitos.

The three cases of WNV affected elderly residents; a 74-year old Hunterdon County resident, a 76-year old Essex County resident, and an 80-year old Hudson County resident. All three were hospitalized and later discharged.

Those over 50 and those with weak immune systems are more at risk to develop the more sever form of WNV. This includes added symptoms such as severe headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis.

For more information on mosquito-proofing your yard, visit nj.gov/health/cd/topics/vectorborne.shtml.

For more information on WNV and New Jersey’s efforts to limit its impact, visit nj.gov/health/cd/topics/vectorborne.shtml or nj.gov/dep/mosquito.

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Kimberly Bosco is the Assistant News Editor/Writer at Micromedia Publications. A recent graduate of Rutgers University, she has spent the last four years studying both English and Journalism Media Studies. Kimberly has also recently worked for both Visit.org Dialogues @RU as a writing and editing intern.