Atlantic County has reported finding a mosquito sample in Birch Grove Park in Northfield that has tested positive for West Nile Virus. State laboratory testing confirmed evidence of the mosquito-borne disease earlier this week. This is the first positive mosquito sample found in Atlantic County this year.
Representatives from the Atlantic County Office of Mosquito Control collected the samples on August 8. County public health and mosquito control officials are conducting mosquito surveillance and implementing additional control measures within the vicinity. Positive mosquito samples were collected from the park in prior years.
West Nile Virus can be transmitted to birds, animals and humans from infected mosquitoes. Areas with standing water particularly in warm weather provide ideal conditions for mosquitoes to breed.
“A positive mosquito sample is not unusual at this time of year, and especially after having experienced record-breaking rainfall amounts and excessive heat earlier this summer,” noted Patricia Diamond, Atlantic County Health Officer.
The Division of Public Health works with the Office of Mosquito Control to track the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses, such as West Nile Virus. Crows and certain other birds are particularly susceptible to the virus and are good indicators of the presence of the disease in a specific area. Sick birds or birds that have died within the past 24 hours may be reported and evaluated for testing.
Health officials encourage residents to prevent the spread of West Nile Virus by following these simple steps:
* Avoid mosquito bites by using an insect repellent whenever going outdoors. Repellents are an important tool to assist people in protecting themselves from mosquito-borne diseases. The Centers for Disease Control recommends the use of products containing active ingredients which have been registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use as repellents applied to skin and clothing and approved for efficacy and human safety when applied as directed. Be sure to follow product directions carefully and consult with your child’s doctor prior to using on children.
* Rid properties of mosquito breeding grounds by draining standing water.
Buckets, bird baths, flower pots and other containers can hold water and provide an ideal environment for mosquitoes. Be sure to empty these containers regularly. Mosquitoes do not travel far from where they breed.
* Clean clogged gutters; check and repair screen doors.
* Report dead birds to the Atlantic County Division of Public Health by calling 609-645-5971.
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