A New Jersey man has been infected with a rare mosquito-borne virus, state health officials confirmed Wednesday.
A Sussex County man in his 60s started suffering a fever and various neurological symptoms in May and later tested positive for the Jamestown Canyon virus, marking the state’s first detection of a mosquito-borne disease this year.
The Jamestown Canyon virus (JCV) is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito and is treated by “supportive care,” health officials said. A vaccine for virus prevention has not been developed.
“Spending time outdoors, whether walking, gardening, or playing with our dogs, is a good way to maintain physical and mental health, but it is important to take steps to prevent mosquito and tick bites, which are responsible for several diseases in New Jersey” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli.
“When enjoying the outdoors, remember to use an EPA-registered insect repellent, cover skin with clothing when you can, and check yourself and your pets for ticks and quickly remove them with tweezers.”
JCV is widely circulated among deer and mosquitoes and rarely infects humans, though an increased number of cases has been reported in recent years, Persichilli said.
While some illnesses caused by JCV are mild, others can be moderate or severe, resulting in hospitalization or even death, Persichilli said.
Other mosquito-borne illnesses that can put New Jersey residents at risk include West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis, which are typically seen in summer and early fall until mosquitoes are no longer biting.
“If you or someone you know is experiencing flu-like symptoms, including fever and headache, contact your healthcare provider and let them know if you suspect a mosquito or tickborne illness,” Persichilli said.
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