State epidemiologist Joshua Clayton says South Dakotans need to protect themselves against the mosquito-borne virus, especially during evening outdoor activities such as Fourth of July fireworks shows.
"This is the earliest a case of West Nile virus has been detected in New Jersey", Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal said.
A Hunterdon County resident has been diagnosed with West Nile virus; the state's first case of the mosquito-spread disease this year and the earliest it has ever been reported in New Jersey, health officials announced Tuesday.
On June 21, the individual began exhibiting symptoms of meningitis.
Humans can also contract West Nile Virus through mosquito bites.
West Nile virus is an arboviral disease that people can contact through the bite of a mosquito that has fed on an infected bird.
"Most people with West Nile virus infection don't develop any symptoms", she said. People with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes and kidney disease are at greater risk experiencing symptoms which include headache, body aches, joint pains or rash. About one out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness.
"Controlling New Jersey's mosquito population is a major part of protecting our public health", said DEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe.
The health department is encouraging everyone to remove any standing water from their home of property, as that is where mosquitoes most like to breed. Contact with mosquitoes can also be reduced by using air-conditioning when possible and ensuring window screens are in good fix.