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May 15, 2013

Re:  CDC releases final West Nile virus national surveillance data for 2012
        Jersey Mosquito Season Looms

Dear Mayor:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released the final 2012 national surveillance data for West Nile virus activity. To access the information, please visit .

West Nile virus (WNV) is a potentially serious illness.  Experts believe WNV is established as a seasonal epidemic in North America that flares up in the summer and continues into the fall.  At the site, you can access a CDC fact sheet that includes important information that can help you recognize and prevent West Nile virus.

Last year, a total of 5,674 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 286 deaths, were reported to CDC from 48 states (excluding Alaska and Hawaii).  Of all West Nile virus disease cases reported, 2,873 (51 percent) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (e.g., meningitis, encephalitis, or acute flaccid paralysis).  The dates of illness onset (when the patients’ illness began) ranged from March through December 2012.

The numbers of neuroinvasive, non-neuroinvasive, and total West Nile virus disease cases reported in 2012 are the highest since 2003.  The number of deaths is the highest since cases of WNV disease were first detected in the United States in 1999.

In New Jersey, a total of 48 cases were reported from 16 counties, resulting in 6 deaths attributed to the disease.

As we move ever closer to a warm New Jersey Summer, remind your citizens that the easiest and best way to avoid WNV is to prevent mosquito bites.

  • When you are outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient. Follow the directions on the package.
  • Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Be sure to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at these times or consider staying indoors during these hours.
  • Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
  • Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children's wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren't being used.

If you or your local Health Officer have any questions or need additional information, please contact the CDC Hotline at 800-232-4636.

Very truly yours,

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director




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