First case of West Nile Virus turns up in bird in Tabernacle

The Burlington County Health Department has received its first report that a bird has tested positive for West Nile virus. The Blue Jay was found in Tabernacle on September 20. The bird was sent to the state laboratory for testing and the results were reported to the Health Department.

“We are urging citizens to take precautions and limit mosquito breeding areas around their homes,” Robert Gogats, Health Officer for Burlington County said. “Persons who are over 50 years of age are at the highest risk for serious illness due to West Nile Virus. People need to take seriously the advice to avoid mosquito bites around dusk and in the hours following it.”

Personal Protection Measures include:

  • Minimize time spent outdoors around dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Be sure the door and window screens are tight fitting and in good repair.
  • Wear shoes, socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods of time, or when mosquitoes are most active. Clothing should be light colored and made of tightly woven materials that keep mosquitoes away from the skin.
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors, in an unscreened structure and to protect small babies when outdoors.
  • Consider using mosquito repellent, according to directions, when it is necessary to be outdoors.

Source reduction activities include:

  • Dispose of water-holding containers such as ceramic pots, used tires, tire swings.
  • Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers.
  • Clean clogged roof gutters.
  • Turn over plastic wading pools, wheelbarrows.
  • Change water in bird baths on a weekly basis.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools that are not being used, including pool covers.
  • Use landscaping to eliminate standing water on your property.

Mosquito traps placed at the Maple Shade Sewage Treatment Plant, Palmyra Sewage Treatment Plant and a location near Richter Road in Tabernacle have turned up positive samples of West Nile Virus, according to the Burlington County Mosquito Division.

The division plans to treat for adult mosquitoes (weather permitting) in the vicinity of the traps above and also in the Kings Grant area in Marlton today from 7 p.m. to midnight. The Kings Grant area did not test positive for the West Nile Virus. Once again, residents are encouraged to stay indoors while treatment occurs. Pesticide will be applied in a mist form by truck. Treatment is concentrated to areas within one-half-mile of the locations.

As of September 27, there have been 30 positive mosquito pools in the county. There have been no human cases of WNV in the county this year. To report a dead bird please visit the “how do I” section of the Burlington County Health Department Homepage, or call the Health Department at 265–5548.