A mosquito in Birch Grove Park in Northfield has tested positive for the West Nile virus, Atlantic County officials reported.

The county said it was the first positive test for the disease in the county this year. The sample was collected Aug. 8 and state laboratory tests came back positive.

The virus can be transmitted to birds, animals and humans through infected mosquitoes. Areas with standing water - particularly in warm weather - provide ideal conditions for mosquitoes to breed, the county said.

"A positive mosquito sample is not unusual at this time of year, and especially after having experienced record-breaking rainfall amounts and excessive heat earlier this summer," Atlantic County Health Officer Patricia Diamond said.

Local and state officials will continue to test in the area.

Only a tiny percentage of people who get West Nile are ever truly in danger. About 20 percent will have several days worth of mild effects, including fever, headaches, body aches and nausea. About one in 150 who get West Nile see serious symptoms that could develop into permanent neurological damage and even death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The elderly and people with weakened immune systems are most at risk. Five people died from West Nile virus in the state last year.

To prevent spread of the virus, the Atlantic County Division of Public Health recommends the following measures:

•Avoid mosquito bites by using an insect repellent

•Rid properties of mosquito breeding grounds by draining standing water.

•Clean clogged gutters

•Check and repair screen doors.

Contact Joel Landau:


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