Sussex County man positive for potentially fatal mosquito-borne disease
Following an onset of fever and neurological symptoms, a Sussex County man has tested positive for Jamestown Canyon virus, a mosquito-borne disease that has recorded only one other human case in the Garden State, the New Jersey Department of Health announced Wednesday.
The man in his 60s represents the first detection of a mosquito-borne illness in New Jersey this year. He started showing symptoms in May, DOH said.
There are no vaccines to prevent JCV, which can cause a number of mild illnesses and has the potential to cause fatal infections.
Treatment for JCV consists of supportive care, DOH said.
JCV has not been detected in mosquitoes yet this season but has been detected in previous years. The first reported human case of JCV in New Jersey was in 2015, also in Sussex County.
The virus circulates widely in North America, primarily between deer and mosquitoes. It is found throughout much of the U.S., but Minnesota and Wisconsin have reported more than half of all cases on record dating back to 2010, according to the CDC.
While about half of patients reported with JCV nationwide are hospitalized, deaths associated with it have been rare.
A recent increase in reported cases likely reflects increased awareness and testing, but also could be due to an increase in disease incidence, CDC officials have said.
DOH warns that in addition to JCV, New Jersey residents are at risk for other mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis, which are generally seen in the summer and early fall.
“Spending time outdoors, whether walking, gardening, or playing with our dogs, is a good way to maintain physical and mental health, but it is important to take steps to prevent mosquito and tick bites, which are responsible for several diseases in New Jersey,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “When enjoying the outdoors, remember to use an EPA-registered insect repellent, cover skin with clothing when you can, and check yourself and your pets for ticks and quickly remove them with tweezers.”
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