Scientists work to battle West Nile virus as New Jersey sees cases climb
New Jersey has seen a larger number of cases of West Nile Virus in humans this year – including one death.
The virus is transmitted through mosquito bites. Cases are currently sitting at 28 in 11 counties from Bergen to Cumberland.
“In an average year, cases can range from zero to usually about eight,” says Lauren Bonus, an entomologist with the Camden County Mosquito Commission.
Bonus says that there is not a definitive answer as to why this year is different than others. But the state says that flooding from Ida is contributing to the problem.
"The average mosquito season has been increasing with increased temperatures, both earlier and later in the year. There's been increased rainfall this year as well, so I think those are the best guesses for why there is an increase in mosquitoes and therefore increased disease population,” Bonus says.
There have been five cases of the virus in Camden County, including one death. The mosquito commission is asking residents to help them by making sure there is no standing water in their yard.
"They lay eggs in standing water and that is where they mold into an adult mosquito,” says Bonus. “So if you can just get rid of any standing water in your backyard that will significantly reduce mosquito population. And that could be anything from buckets, tires, kid’s toys, birdbaths, anything that can hold water for seven to 10 days."
Health officials are also urging anyone who is outdoors to use mosquito repellent.
Camden County will continue its mosquito testing program into mid-November. This is later than usual due to this fall's warmer temperatures.