An 80-year-old man has become the first case of West Nile Virus reported in Bergen County, officials said Friday.
The resident is recovering from the mosquito-borne virus at a rehabilitation center, according to a statement from the county executive’s office.
“Residents of Bergen County are urged to take precautions against mosquito bites,” the statement said. “The Bergen County Mosquito Control Division has been conducting larvicide applications around the county on a regular basis in response to West Nile Virus surveillance results.”
Bergen County officials published a list of precautions online, including using insect repellent and removing standing water where mosquitoes can breed.
The recent spread of West Nile Virus has reached its highest levels since 1999, when the virus was first detected in the United States, the state health department said Thursday. In New Jersey, officials have confirmed eight total cases this year in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties.
Nationally, most of the more than 1,500 cases have been confirmed in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Michigan, Oklahoma and South Dakota, state officials said.
"West Nile Virus cases tend to increase in late summer and fall and residents should take steps to prevent mosquito bites,” state Department of Health Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd said in a statement. “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."
Most people infected with the virus show no symptoms, according to health officials. Although some people will have mild to moderate symptoms including fever, headache, rash, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and swollen lymph nodes.