Health & Wellness

Hillsborough Physician Downplays Potential Impact of Zika Virus in New Jersey as State and Local Agencies Prepare

HILLSBOROUGH - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta has confirmed several dozen cases of the rapidly-spreading Zika virus in the United States and a township physician says it won’t be long before people in New Jersey are susceptible to the mosquito-borne disease.

On Monday, the World Health Organization declared the Zika virus an international public health emergency because of its suspected links to birth defects.

The Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites.

Sign Up for E-News

“It’s not a big risk here yet, but it could increase as time goes on,” said Dr. David Herman, one of 34 physicians in IDCare, New Jersey’s largest practice of infectious disease specialists.

IDCare has nine locations in New Jersey, with its main office in Hillsborough.

One case has been reported in New Jersey; a woman from Colombia was infected by the virus in her country and became ill during her visit in Bergen County last month. She was briefly hospitalized and returned home.

“The biggest risk is to pregnant women,” Herman said. “That’s the biggest worry,” he added, noting that the worldwide medical community is advising woman not to become pregnant until the virus can be controlled.

There is no known antidote for the Zika virus, according to Herman.

“There are no vaccines yet and it could be some time,” he said. “The only prevention is to avoid getting bit.”

The Aedes mosquito is responsible for the spread of the disease to more than 27 countries and territories, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the CDC.

“They are aggressive biters during the daytime, Herman said. He recommends mosquito repellant as the best defense against being bitten.

Symptoms can include rash, joint pain, fever, back pain, conjunctivitis, vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches. Zika is in the same family of diseases as yellow fever, dengue, West Nile, and Japanese encephalitis viruses.

The outbreak began in Brazil in May, 2015; health officials have strong suspicions that an increased number of microcephaly cases since then is linked to the Aedes mosquito. Microcephaly is a condition that causes babies to be born with unusually small heads and damaged brains.

The Aedes mosquito is also known to spread dengue and chikungunya. There are no known, natively transferred instances of Zika in the United States, but the Aedes mosquito has a range that covers much of the southeastern United States.

Mosquito activity in New Jersey will increase as the weather becomes warmer and after the larvae have incubated and hatched, according to Herman. However, he emphasized that well-established seasonal mosquito spraying programs operated by the New Jersey Mosquito Control Commission combined with their counterparts on the county level should be able to contain and control the virus.

The Department of Health has been conducting conference calls with healthcare providers, maternal and child health providers, and public health officials (so far more than 400 have participated) to share information and increase awareness of the Zika virus, according to spokesperson Nicole Mulvaney.

Topics covered in these calls include information about the disease such as symptoms, travel guidance, guidelines for testing of pregnant women and infants, and critical preventive measures.

“The Department has also emphasized with clinicians the importance of taking a thorough travel history of patients,” Mulvaney said.

“In addition, we have outlined the CDC criteria for testing and provided our Communicable Disease Program’s contact information to providers to help advise them as they manage patients,” she added.

“We don’t expect to see outbreaks in the United States like the one going on in Caribbean, Central and South America,” she said citing the CDC’s experience with Dengue and Chikungunya.

Additionally, the Department has shared CDC information, guidance and alerts via the  New Jersey Local Information Network and Communication Systems (LINCS) alert system and have posted all those materials on the Zika websitehttp://www.nj.gov/health/cd/zika/index.shtml with a specific tab (Technical Info) for healthcare providers.

 

The state DOH has been sharing information with the public through social media channels which are:
Twitter https://twitter.com/NJDeptofHealth 
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/NJDeptofHealth

 

“The type of mosquito that has been implicated in the transmission of the Zika virus is a tropical species, not sustainable in New Jersey, “said Larry Hajna, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection. “That said, our message to the county commissions is that we will be stepping up monitoring and will be looking especially for this type of mosquito.”

One area of concern is airports and ports where cargo ships unload, according to Hajna.

A federal agency, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service maintains vigilance at Newark Liberty International Airport and Ports Newark and Elizabeth, Hajna explained.

“They are always on the lookout for invasive species on a routine basis,” he explained. “We’re probably going to see a stepped up effort there.”

Somerset County’s Mosquito Control team is responsible for the suppression of vector born diseases and the control of nuisance mosquito populations.

Activities are based on an extensive surveillance program. Emphasis is placed on the elimination of mosquito habitats and the control of mosquitoes while they are still in their aquatic stages of development.

Somerset County uses an Integrated Pest Management approach to mosquito control that employs a variety of complimentary strategies; mechanical and physical devices, biological and chemical control, sanitation and solid waste management and structural maintenance.

The Somerset County Mosquito Commission was founded in 1945 and remained in existence as a Commission until 1991. It then became part of the Public Works Department, Road Division; 41 of its employees hold Commercial Pesticide Applicator Licenses.

IDCare has several offices throughout New Jersey including Princeton, Somerset, Cedar Knolls, Randolph, Oakhurst, Wayne, Pennington and Old Bridge.

The main office is in Hillsborough at 105 Raider Blvd., Suite 101. Further information is available by calling (908) 281-0221, or visit the website at IDCare.com

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

SOMA

Maplewood Police Blotter - Three Thefts Reported, Including a Motor Vehicle

April 24, 2018

April 16 - Shoplifting; At approximately 3:15 p.m., officers responded to the 7-11 on Irvington Avenue on a reported shoplifter.  An employee reported that prior to officer’s arrival, a male entered the store, picked up several pieces of candy and then left without paying.

April 16 - Theft from Auto; At approximately 6:15 p.m. an unsecured vehicle parked on Van ...

Maplewood Police Blotter - Man Arrested for Package Thefts

April 5 - Shoplifting; At approximately 3:15 p.m. officers responded to the Extra Supermarket on Irvington Ave on a reported shoplifter. Jean Legerme, age 21 of Newark was detained by security for attempting to leave the store without paying for several items. He was arrested, taken into custody and later released after being charged on a summons.

April 5 - Shoplifting; At ...

Sunny Skies for the South Mountain YMCA Healthy Kids Day Celebration

April 24, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The South Mountain YMCA celebrated Healthy Kids Day on Saturday, with lots of sun, activities, and healthy snacks, which were provided by the Stop and Shop of South Orange and Trader Joe's of Millburn,

The afternoon of fun included a climbing wall, an obstacle course, laser tag, bounce houses, and slides.

There was also an opportunity for kids to visit to the ...

41st Annual SOMA Interfaith Holocaust Service and March of Remembrance Held on Sunday

MAPLEWOOD AND SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - The 41st Annual SOMA Interfaith Holocaust Service and March of Remembrance was held on Sunday, April 15. The march assembled in Spiotta Park on Maplewood Avenue in Maplewood, and was called to order with the blowing of the shofar.

Local elected officials who attended included Maplewood Mayor Vic DeLuca, Maplewood Township Committee member Dean Dafis, and ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, April 25, 12:00 PM

Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, South Orange

The Purposes and Rhythms of Jewish Living

Education Religions And Spirituality

Carousel_image_343f4e7d32430a1ca3f1_renoir4

Wed, April 25, 2:00 PM

Millburn Free Public Library, Millburn

Pierre-August Renoir: The Joys of Life at ...

Carousel_image_652a32ce70e2746ae183_r_olinsky_08-20-08_17_t_lo_res

Wed, April 25, 6:30 PM

South Mountain YMCA Civic House (in the Park), Maplewood

Maplewood Chamber of Commerce Presents Why Walk: ...

Business & Finance Health & Wellness Other

Carousel_image_982bc8344531b1a37c85_par_440

Wed, April 25, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Academy Heights Residents: No More Valley Street Development Until Master Plan Approved

April 22, 2018

This past Thursday, April 19th, the South Orange Development Committee considered a presentation from developers regarding the All Star Motors site on Valley Street between 3rd and 4th. The proposal is for a 61 unit dormitory/boarding house for college students, with 175 beds and limited parking on a lot that is partially zoned for two-family residential. About 20 Academy Heights neighbors ...

Women Need Better Treatment Behind Bars, Lawmakers Say

April 25, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - Middlesex County Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez and U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) held a roundtable discussion Monday with criminal justice reform advocates and formally incarcerated women to discuss legislation Lopez and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle are introducing, modeled after legislation Booker introduced in the Senate, to reform the way women are treated behind ...

Saint Barnabas Medical Center Celebrates Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Day

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Saint Barnabas Medical Center (SBMC) recently hosted a sold-out Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Day educational program, featuring Arash Fazl, M.D., Ph.D., a movement disorder specialist board-certified in Psychiatry and Neurology. 

Dr. Fazl, a Barnabas Health Medical Group provider, spoke to a capacity crowd of more than 200 people about the latest ...

Cranford's Kurt Steiner, a Holocaust Survivor, tells Life Story as 106th Birthday Draws Near

April 25, 2018

CRANFORD, NJ – In a quaint white house near the border of Cranford and Garwood, 105-year-old Kurt Steiner sat at his dining room table, surrounded by cabinets that held his collection of Viennese glass and antique Limoge plates. At his table, he had his carefully taped together passport and exit papers from Vienna, Austria, stamped with a large “J” and “Jude,” the ...

Amazon Works to End Stigma of “Free and Reduced” Meals at School

FLORENCE, NJ – There is a widely unknown problem in schools all over America: a stigma among many children who are eligible for free or reduced lunch.

Rather than face the peer pressure of receiving breakfast or lunch through this federal program, many choose to remain hungry.

To help eliminate the practice, Amazon has partnered with Share our Strength’s “No Kid ...

South Orange-Maplewood Baseball Softball Parade on Saturday, April 28

April 25, 2018

The annual parade celebrating the kick-off of the 2018 baseball and softball season for South Orange and Maplewood children will be held Saturday, April 28.

The parade, led by members of the CHS Marching Band, will leave New Waterlands Park at 9:00 am sharp and walk a route from 3rd Street to Sloan Street to South Orange Avenue and along the bike/pedestrian path along the river to Cameron ...

Cardinal Tobin to Speak at B’nai Jeshurun

Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, Short Hills, will welcome Cardinal Joseph Tobin on Wednesday, May 2nd at 7:00 pm.  Cardinal Tobin currently serves at the head of the Archdiocese of Newark. Members of the community are invited to hear Cardinal Tobin speak about how Pope Francis is forging a culture of encounter by renewing the dialogue between Christians and Jews.  In the pope’s ...

Class Act Performing Arts Studio Presents "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" at SOPAC

Class Act Performing Arts Studio’s senior Musical Theatre Company members will perform “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” Thursday, May 10th , 2018 through Sunday, May 13th, 2018 at the South Orange Performing Arts Center.

Set in 19th-century London, this thrilling musical tells the story of barber Benjamin Barker, now known by his alias, Sweeney Todd, and his ...