West Nile-like Virus Confirmed

Tuesday, October 5th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Four dead crows found in New Jersey tested
positive for the West Nile-like virus believed responsible for the
deaths of at least five people in the New York City metropolitan
The state health department said Monday this is the first time
the virus has been identified in New Jersey. The crows were found
in Bergen, Essex, Middlesex and Union counties in the northern part
of the state.
The virus is believed to be transmitted by mosquitoes that bit
infected birds. New York City, Long Island, New Jersey and
Connecticut have been spraying pesticides to kill as many
mosquitoes as possible before the first winter chills. Scientists
are also concerned the virus will move south as birds migrate this
There have been five confirmed deaths and several dozen cases of
infection in the New York City area.
New Jersey Health Commissioner Christine Grant said residents
should take precautions against mosquito bites but should not be
"unduly concerned" by the test results. There have been no
reports of New Jersey residents being infected with the virus.
"We have no reason to think that in fact we will see cases in
New Jersey residents," Grant said. "Diseases like this can have a
hot spot, a fairly localized outbreak."
The U.S. Centers for Disease and Control Prevention have
classified the ailment as a West Nile-like fever, a virus never
before seen in the Western Hemisphere. It is called West
Nile-"like" because scientists have not yet identified it with
Health officials initially thought the virus was the more
dangerous St. Louis encephalitis. Symptoms of both -- fever and
headache -- are similar, but are generally milder with the West Nile
virus. In rare cases, the virus can cause neurological disorders
and death.