September 10, 2012
RE: West Nile Virus Alert
The number of West Nile Virus cases in our State has increased to 15, including New Jersey’s first death, an elderly Burlington County man.
As the West Nile Virus season heads into its peak, we need to intensify our efforts to combat the mosquito-borne virus with increased surveillance and control efforts. Commissioners Mary O’Dowd, of the New Jersey Department of Health, and Bob Martin, of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), have asked us to remind you that this year’s unusually high mosquito activity is contributing to the spread of the virus.
Please use your outreach resources to remind resident that they can protect themselves by using repellent, wearing long sleeves, long pants, and by removing standing water on their property, to curtail mosquito breeding opportunities.
The Department of Environmental Protection spearheads statewide mosquito control efforts by providing funding, equipment and expertise to counties for the surveillance, testing and control of mosquito populations. In response to heightened national concerns about West Nile Virus, the DEP is making additional funding available for testing of mosquitoes. Commissioner Martin noted that the risk of transmission of mosquito-borne disease typically peaks in late summer and early fall.
Robert Kent, Administrator of the DEP’s Office of Mosquito Control Coordination, has urged the public to remove all standing water on their properties that can serve as mosquito breeding areas, use repellents when outdoors in areas with mosquitoes (those with the active ingredient DEET are most effective), and report mosquito activity to county mosquito agencies.
“Protect yourself and your family by remembering the three Rs – remove, repel and report,” Kent said. If you have problems controlling mosquitoes, contact your county mosquito control agency by calling 888-666-5968.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.