A department spokesman said it's the second straight year where the first case is earlier than usual.
Health officials in Marion and Hamilton counties said Tuesday they've found such mosquitoes for the first time this year.
The health department recommends that people take precautions to avoid mosquito bites by taking measures such as using bug spray and wearing protective clothing, and using screens on doors and windows to keep mosquitoes outside. Three people died from the disease in Bergen County which had the highest number of reported cases. Less than one percent of those infected will develop a serious neurologic illness, such as encephalitis or meningitis. "There is risk of contracting WNV anytime mosquitoes are active, so it is important to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites".
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"Controlling New Jersey's mosquito population is a major part of protecting our public health", DEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe said in a release.
Residents may reduce risk by applying mosquito repellent, wearing trousers and long sleeves when outdoors and getting rid of standing water that gives mosquitoes a place to breed.