A 74-year-old Hunterdon County resident has recently tested positive for the West Nile Virus. According to the New Jersey Department of Health, the man was diagnosed after displaying symptoms last month which included body aches, vomiting, and severe rashes. This is the first confirmed case of the West Nile Virus in the state of New Jersey.

The West Nile Virus is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito.  According to the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) the virus thrives in warmer climates. Changing rain patterns and extended heat waves allow the virus to live for longer periods of the year. And since the temperature this summer has yet to drop below 120 degrees, the virus will most likely live forever...yay!

Fortunately, only 20% of people infected with the disease actually develop symptoms. Some common symptoms include stiffness, joint pain, tremors, disorientation, and diarrhea. Although the disease can be fatal, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that most people who display symptoms of the virus are able to completely recover.

Now that the virus is in New Jersey, here are some preventive measures to take so you don't get infected:

  • Wear long sleeve shirts and pants (in the 90 degree humidity) 
  • Make sure window screens are secure
  • Drain standing water such as birdbaths and kiddie pools.

For more information including how to avoid risks of contracting the West Nile Virus, please click here.