Camden County has its third and fourth victims of the West Nile virus, after state labs confirmed the diagnosis, county officials announced Friday.
A 39-year-old man and a 57-year-old woman, who both first reported symptoms in August, were tested for the virus, and positive results both came back this week, officials said. Hometowns were not released for either victim.
The 39-year-old went to the hospital with fever, cough, chills, paralysis and weakness on Aug. 9, and state tests confirmed on Sept. 12 he had the virus, officials said.
The 57-year-old went to the hospital Aug. 26 after five days of fever, chills, head and body aches, and she was released home on Sept. 1. Nine days later, state labs also confirmed her diagnosis of West Nile.
The first Camden County victim of the virus in 2013, a 68-year-old man who had been in intensive care since first going to the hospital on Aug. 12, was also released to a long-term care facility on Aug. 31, officials said. The second, an 84-year-old man who first reported symptoms of the virus in mid-August, was hospitalized after going to the emergency room, complaining of headaches and a fever for three days.
Though there haven't been any deaths in Camden County, state officials said a Gloucester County resident died of the virus in late August, just weeks after the state's first case was confirmed in Burlington County.
The virus, which typically shows up between August and October, has been identified in mosquitoes in 20 of New Jersey's 21 counties, officials said, and residents are warned to use bug spray and stay indoors in the hours around dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
Eight people have died from West Nile since 2010, according to state records, and 85 people have been sickened in the same period. 2012 was the most active year for the virus, with 48 cases reported and six deaths.
Damage from last year's hurricane season has led to conditions that could bulk up the mosquito population, and a wetter-than-average summer has state and county officials asking residents to do what they can to curb the problem.
“At this time, and coming on the heels of the wettest summer months in the history of the county, I want to be clear, residents need to be on the lookout for standing water,” said freeholder Jeffrey Nash, liaison to the Camden County Mosquito Commission. “This mosquito season will continue well into October, and as a community, we have to work together in order eliminate ideal breeding locations for these pests.”
The county works with state labs to track West Nile locally, Nash said, and the county mosquito commission sprays any areas where the virus is identified within 24 hours of verification.
Mild to moderate West Nile infections usually resolve within seven to 10 days, officials said, but more severe infections may require hospitalization and supportive treatment.
For more information on West Nile and its prevention, visit the New Jersey Department of Health website.