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Thursday, July 18, 2024

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West Nile Virus, EEE Found in CMCo Mosquito Samples

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Shown is a stock image of a mosquito.

By Herald Staff

COURT HOUSE – The Cape May County Department of Mosquito Control, while conducting routine mosquito testing, detected both West Nile virus (WNV) and Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) in separate samples.

County Health Officer Kevin Thomas announced that WNV was found in two samples – one in the southern section of Villas and another near the Cape May County Park & Zoo. A third sample, also located in the southern section of Villas, tested positive for EEE. Thomas said the county regularly monitors and treats areas for these mosquito-borne diseases.

Thomas said finding the positive samples prompts his office to remind residents of the existence of these viruses.

“Knowing that West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis are here in the county is a good reminder for people to protect themselves against mosquito bites,” Thomas said.

Mosquitoes can bite at any time of day but are particularly active during the early morning hours and early evening hours. Thomas said to protect against mosquito bites, citizens should wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and use mosquito repellent when outdoors during these times.

It is also important to eliminate standing water on one’s property that may serve as a habitat for mosquitoes and keep window screens in good repair, Thomas said.

The most effective way to protect from mosquito bites is to avoid them altogether by staying indoors. If you do have to go outside, the Health Department urges citizens to cover up and use U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered mosquito repellents.

WNV is cycled mostly between birds and mosquitoes and EEE is cycled between birds and the black-tailed mosquito. The Cape May County Department of Mosquito Control has traps throughout the county that specifically target those higher-risk species – both birds and mosquitoes – and the department continues to test hundreds to thousands of them a week for both WNV and EEE.

Symptoms of WNV are similar to those seen with EEE, including fever, headache, and muscle and joint aches. In addition, enlarged lymph nodes or a rash on the chest, abdomen, or back may be seen with WNV. Those who have these symptoms should seek medical attention.

For information about WNV, EEE, or other mosquito-borne diseases, call the Health Department at 609-465-1209, or check the department’s website at www.cmchealth.net.

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