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West Nile Virus: Precaution & Prevention
Release Date: June 08, 2009

West Nile Virus: Precaution & Prevention

With the summer months quickly approaching, the Office of Mosquito Control is aggressively inspecting and monitoring mosquito larval habitats (immature and aquatic stage) in order to reduce the mosquito population.

There are 63 known mosquito species throughout New Jersey and although most are considered to be a nuisance, some species of adult mosquitoes can carry and transmit West Nile virus (WNV). According to the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, the state of New Jersey reported seven human cases of WNV in 2008; no human cases were reported in Sussex County. In addition, no horses tested positive for the presence of WNV.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), "WNV is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes are WNV carriers that become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes can then spread WNV to humans and other animals when they bite."

The easiest and the best way to avoid WNV is to prevent mosquito bites. The Office of Mosquito Control suggests all residents take the following precautions:

When you are outdoors, the CDC recommends using insect repellents containing DEET in accordance with the labeling directions on the package.

Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and at dawn. Consider staying indoors during these times or wear long sleeves and pants. Light-colored clothing can help you see mosquitoes that land on you.

Make sure you have good screens on your windows and your doors to keep mosquitoes out.

Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets, barrels, pet dishes, and bird baths. Drill drainage holes in tire swings so water can drain out and keep children's wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren't in use.

IF YOU FIND A DEAD BIRD: Don't handle the body with your bare hands. Contact the Office of Mosquito Control at (973) 948-4545 for instructions.

For more information on dead birds, please visit Sussex County Office of Mosquito Control.

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