An unidentified and elderly Bergen County woman was the second life claimed by West Nile Virus in New Jersey this year, state health officials said.
Earlier this month, beloved Little League baseball coach Fred J. Maikisch , 62 of Lodi, died just over a week after his diagnosis.
West Nile Virus cases in New Jersey reached a record high with a total of 31 human cases reported statewide so far this year.
“The number of human West Nile Virus cases is the highest we’ve seen since 2012, and the season is not over yet,” New Jersey Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal said.
"The pattern of hot and wet weather this summer has led to an increase in mosquito populations and associated viruses.”
Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco has been working closely with state health officials and is focused on minimizing the impact to Bergen County residents, Elnahal said.
“Bergen County officials have been proactive in spraying the highest risk areas for mosquitoes to protect the public," Elnahal said. "We are also working with local health departments across the state, who monitor cases and initiate responses as appropriate.”
In 2017, there were eight human cases of West Nile reported. Elnahal said the number of positive West Nile Virus mosquito pools is the highest ever reported, particularly in the northwestern and central parts of the state where levels usually are not high. There has also been an increase in dead and ill bird reports.
“Residents should protect themselves by using repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants and avoiding the outdoors during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active," Commissioner Elnahal said.
“West Nile Virus most often causes mild symptoms, such as fever, headache, body aches or a rash for healthy individuals, but it can cause severe illness in the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.”
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.