The 78-year-old woman "developed fever, blurred vision, weakness and diarrhea in mid-August," the state reported. She was hospitalized thereafter and died on August 24; the fatality was reported to the state Sept. 3.
The second fatality in the state was a 92-year-old Morris County man who died August 31 after complications from encephalitis.
In all, the state reported that six New Jersey residents have tested positive for WNV, two in Camden County, and one each in Bergen, Burlington, Gloucester and Morris counties.
Only Cumberland and Salem County have not reported any WNV cases this year, but September is the peak season for the disease, according to the Department of Heath.
"Last year was the most active West Nile Virus season in the state's history with 48 cases and six deaths," the statement noted. "In 2011, there were seven cases and no deaths. In 2010, there were 30 cases and two fatalities."
Residents are urged to avoid contact with mosquitos by wearing insect repellant with DEET and staying indoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitos are most active.
People should also check their screens for damage, wear long sleeves and pants when possible, and use insect netting to protect infants in carriers and strollers.
The state also offered the following advice for keeping mosquitoes away, including:
- Disposing of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers that have accumulated on your property
- Removing standing water from any tires on your property. Used tires are a popular breeding ground for mosquitoes
- Drilling holes in the bottom and elevate recycling containers that are left outdoors
- Cleaning clogged roof gutters on an annual basis, particularly if the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug up the drains. Roof gutters are easily overlooked but can produce millions of mosquitoes each season
- Turning over plastic wading pools when not in use. A wading pool becomes a mosquito producer if it is not used on a regular basis
- Turning over wheelbarrows and not allowing water to stagnate in bird baths
- Cleaning and chlorinating swimming pools that are not being used. A swimming pool that is left untended can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Be aware mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on pool covers
"Anyone who suspects they may have WNV should visit their health care provider for further evaluation and potential testing for WNV," the statement noted.
"There is no treatment for WNV, and mild to moderate infections usually resolve within 7 to 10 days. More severe infections may require hospitalization and supportive treatment."