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Saturday, July 12, 2014

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West Nile Virus update

Last month, a dead crow found on the Princeton campus tested positive for the West Nile virus, which is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. No infected mosquitoes have been found in Mercer County, home to the University. The county has had no reports of this virus in humans.

The University is working with county and state officials to monitor the virus. The state Department of Health and Senior Services has reported that 726 infected birds have been found throughout New Jersey, but only five of those have been in Mercer County.

For most healthy young people, the West Nile virus does not present a threat. Generally, it causes only mild, flu-like symptoms with fever, headache and body aches - or no symptoms at all. Elderly people are at higher risk of more serious disease such as encephalitis, with symptoms of severe headache, high fever, stiff neck, confusion and muscle weakness. Anyone with these symptoms should seek medical care as soon as possible.

To minimize the risk, health experts suggest using insect repellant and wearing long pants and long sleeves when outdoors, especially around dawn and dusk during the summer. For more resources and facts about the West Nile virus and its presence in New Jersey, visit the Princeton University Health Services West Nile Virus information page .

Contact: Justin Harmon (609) 258-3601

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