www.co.hunterdon.nj.us | Department of Health | 2009 Public Information & Notices
Dated 04/28/2009 to August 11, 2009

HUNTERDON COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
PO Box 2900
Flemington, New Jersey 08822
908-788-1351
For more information contact Carl Rachel, Public Relations Director

H1N1 (SWINE FLU) RESPONSE IN HUNTERDON COUNTY UPDATES:

 

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H1N1 (SWINE FLU) RESPONSE IN HUNTERDON COUNTY - August 11, 2009
Latest Flu News - Novel Influenza A (H1N1)

UNTERDON COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT ACTIVITY:

-- County health department has investigated 8 cases of Novel Influenza A H1N1 to date. Among these cases, 2 “clusters” (persons associated with the same household, institution, activity or event) were investigated: two individuals shared a household/two individuals attended same school.

STATE AND NATIONWIDE


-- CDC now reports 3,352 laboratory confirmed human infections with novel H1N1 flu in 44 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.) in the U.S.

-- An additional 604 probable cases reported nationwide. (CDC will no longer report probable cases at the state level.)

-- This is a total of 3,956 confirmed and probable cases in 46 states and the District of Columbia in the U.S.

-- To date, three deaths in U.S. are confirmed from this outbreak.

-- Novel influenza A (H1N1) activity is now being tracked in two of CDC’s routine influenza surveillance systems.

-- The U.S. influenza surveillance system is a collaborative effort between CDC and its many partners in state and local health departments, public health and clinical laboratories, vital statistics offices, healthcare providers, clinics and emergency departments.

-- Like seasonal flu, some people may be at greater risk of serious complications related to novel H1N1 infection and illness.

-- People who are at high risk of serious seasonal flu-related complications include pregnant women, children younger than 5 years old, people with chronic medical conditions, and people 65 years and older.

-- Pregnant women are at high risk for serious complications from seasonal flu and have been disproportionately affected in influenza pandemics.

-- Pregnancy weakens a woman’s immune system and places her at increased risk for serious flu-related complications. The greatest risks for pregnant women can be pneumonia or dehydration. There can also be risks to their unborn babies including pre-term labor.

-- CDC believes this information from seasonal flu applies to the novel H1N1 (swine flu) viruses as well, but studies on this virus are ongoing to learn more about its characteristics and to learn what groups are at highest risk.

For more information:
CDC website www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu
or call
1-800-CDC-INFO.

-- CDC has isolated the novel H1N1 flu virus and is working to make a candidate vaccine virus that can be provided to industry so that manufacturers can scale up for production of a vaccine, if necessary.

PUBLIC /PERSONAL RESPONSIBLITY:

-- Everyone should take everyday steps to protect your health and lessen the spread of this new virus. Follow local public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures based on illness in specific communities.

-- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. -- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.

-- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.

-- Avoid close contact with sick people.

-- Persons with influenza-like illness should stay home until at least 24 hours after being free of fever (100° F [37.8°C]) or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications. This recommendation applies to camps, schools, businesses, mass gatherings, and other community settings. HOWEVER, in health care settings, the exclusion period should be continued for 7 days from symptom onset or until the resolution of symptoms, whichever is longer.

-- Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods. CDC is studying the virus and its capabilities to try to learn more and will provide more information as it becomes available.

You have a role in protecting yourself and your family.

Stay informed. Health officials will provide additional information as it becomes available; be sure to visit the links available from this page.

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H1N1 (SWINE FLU) RESPONSE IN HUNTERDON COUNTY - May 14, 2009

Latest Flu News - Novel Influenza A (H1N1)
HUNTERDON COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT ACTIVITY:

-- County health department has investigated 8 cases of Novel Influenza A H1N1 to date. Among these cases, 2 “clusters” (persons associated with the same household, institution, activity or event) were investigated: two individuals shared a household/two individuals attended same school.

STATE AND NATIONWIDE:

-- CDC now reports 3,352 laboratory confirmed human infections with novel H1N1 flu in 44 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.) in the U.S.

-- An additional 604 probable cases reported nationwide. (CDC will no longer report probable cases at the state level.)

-- This is a total of 3,956 confirmed and probable cases in 46 states and the District of Columbia in the U.S.

-- To date, three deaths in U.S. are confirmed from this outbreak.

-- Novel influenza A (H1N1) activity is now being tracked in two of CDC’s routine influenza surveillance systems.

-- The U.S. influenza surveillance system is a collaborative effort between CDC and its many partners in state and local health departments, public health and clinical laboratories, vital statistics offices, healthcare providers, clinics and emergency departments.

-- Like seasonal flu, some people may be at greater risk of serious complications related to novel H1N1 infection and illness.

-- People who are at high risk of serious seasonal flu-related complications include pregnant women, children younger than 5 years old, people with chronic medical conditions, and people 65 years and older.

-- Pregnant women are at high risk for serious complications from seasonal flu and have been disproportionately affected in influenza pandemics.

-- Pregnancy weakens a woman’s immune system and places her at increased risk for serious flu-related complications. The greatest risks for pregnant women can be pneumonia or dehydration. There can also be risks to their unborn babies including pre-term labor.

-- CDC believes this information from seasonal flu applies to the novel H1N1 (swine flu) viruses as well, but studies on this virus are ongoing to learn more about its characteristics and to learn what groups are at highest risk.

For more information:
CDC website www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu
or call
1-800-CDC-INFO.

-- CDC has isolated the novel H1N1 flu virus and is working to make a candidate vaccine virus that can be provided to industry so that manufacturers can scale up for production of a vaccine, if necessary.

PUBLIC /PERSONAL RESPONSIBLITY:

-- Everyone should take everyday steps to protect your health and lessen the spread of this new virus. Follow local public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures based on illness in specific communities.

-- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

-- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.

-- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.

-- Avoid close contact with sick people.

-- Persons with influenza-like illness should stay home until at least 24 hours after being free of fever (100° F [37.8°C]) or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications. This recommendation applies to camps, schools, businesses, mass gatherings, and other community settings. HOWEVER, in health care settings, the exclusion period should be continued for 7 days from symptom onset or until the resolution of symptoms, whichever is longer.

-- Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods. CDC is studying the virus and its capabilities to try to learn more and will provide more information as it becomes available.

You have a role in protecting yourself and your family.

Stay informed. Health officials will provide additional information as it becomes available; be sure to visit the links available from this page.

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SWINE FLU RESPONSE IN HUNTERDON COUNTY - May 7, 2009

Since the news first broke on April 24 of the emergence of a new H1N1 (swine) flu virus, the Hunterdon County Department of Health immediately mobilized an interagency task force to ensure all possible steps are taken to protect and inform county residents. “There hasn’t been a moment to rest, to be sure,” said John Beckley, health officer and director of the county health department. “The amount of information and new developments coming in is like trying to drink from a full-force fire hose.” 

To be in a constant state of ready, the county health department is leading the county task force comprising specialists from the health department, Hunterdon Healthcare, the Office of Emergency Management, the Prosecutor’s Office, the School Superintendent’s Office, and Medical Reserve Corps, and the Board of Chosen Freeholders.

“To keep as current as possible with developments at the national level, we participate in daily conference calls between the Centers for Disease Control and the N.J. Department of Health & Senior Services,” explained Beckley. “A critical component of our work is conducting comprehensive daily surveillance and case-findings activities. Our epidemiologist and communicable disease nurse collaborate with the county healthcare community, looking for any anomalies.”

The county health department also provides updated clinical guidance from N.J. Department of Health & Senior Services to primary care physicians and the

Hunterdon Medical Center via its Local Information Network and Communications System (LINCS) capability. In addition, for the general public, the health department opened its H1N1 Swine Flu Infoline at 908-237-7150, staffed by Medical Reserve Corps representatives.

“We’ve already taken custody of federal supplies distributed from the Strategic National Stockpile and are storing these materials locally for immediate deployment should emergency needs arise,” added Rose Puelle, director of the department’s Public Health Preparedness division.

The county health department web site www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/health.htm offers the latest news about H1N1 from sources ranging from the Centers for Disease Control, the N.J. Department of Health & Senior Services, and the county task force.

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SWINE FLU RESPONSE IN HUNTERDON COUNTY - May 5, 2009

Since the news first broke on April 24 of the emergence of a new H1N1 (swine) flu virus, the Hunterdon County Department of Health almost immediately mobilized an interagency task force to ensure all possible steps are taken to protect and inform county residents. “There hasn’t been a moment to rest, to be sure,” said John Beckley, health officer and director of the county health department. “The amount of information and new developments coming in is like trying to drink from a full-force fire hose.”

To be in a constant state of ready, the county health department is:

  • Leading the county task force comprising specialists from the health department, Hunterdon Healthcare, the Office of Emergency Management, the Prosecutor’s Office, the School Superintendent’s Office, and Medical Reserve Corps, and the Board of Chosen Freeholders.
  • Participating in daily conference calls between the Centers for Disease Control, the N.J. Department of Health & Senior Services.
  • Conducting comprehensive daily surveillance and case-findings activities, as the epidemiologist and communicable disease nurse collaborate with the county healthcare community.
  • Communicating updated clinical guidance from N.J. Department of Health & Senior Services to primary care physicians and the Hunterdon Medical Center.
  • Operating the H1N1 Swine Flu Call Center at 908-237-7150, staffed by MRC representatives.
  • Taking custody of federal supplies distributed from the Strategic National Stockpile, and storing these materials locally for immediate deployment should emergency needs arise.
  • Updating the county health department web site daily with the latest news about H1N1 from sources ranging from the Centers for Disease Control, the N.J. Department of Health & Senior Services, and the county task force.
  • Conferencing with media on a continuous basis, updating local information and correcting misinformation and rumors.

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SWINE FLU RESPONSE IN HUNTERDON COUNTY - April 28, 2009

As the national swine flu crisis grows, the Hunterdon County Department of Health is already in motion making preparation should this public health threat suddenly become a local emergency.

"Today, we convened a special Swine Flu Task Force,” reported John Beckley, health officer and director of the county health department.  “This interdepartmental team is responsible for ensuring our coherent capabilities to quickly mobilize and treat residents should a large-scale response become necessary.”

The task force comprises specialist members of the county health department including the health officer, the director of Public Health Preparedness, epidemiologist, clinical nursing staff, health educators, public-media-strategic communications director, and the coordinator of the local chapter of the Medical Reserve Corps. Other department specialists include representatives from the County Office of Emergency Management, the County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Hunterdon Medical Center.

Hunterdon County residents should note that we already investigated our first suspect case of swine flu yesterday which tested negative for swine flu; and today, we’re awaiting results for specimens from two additional suspect cases we’ve submitted to the state lab,” said Beckley.

“Although these results could also turn out to be negative for swine flu, we’re not taking any chances because all these cases meet the CDC definition of ‘suspect’ from an epidemiological perspective. This is a classic example of how public health works at the most local level. Our job is to be aggressive, be comprehensive and thorough in protecting residents.”

The health department is also using its LINCS (Local Information Network & Communications System) capabilities to keep vital stakeholders up to date. “We’re broadcasting information to target audiences such as private physicians, law enforcement and first responders,” said Rose Puelle, director of the Public Health Preparedness division. “The goal is to keep everyone in the loop about this quickly changing health threat and what it might mean for us here in the county.”

New Jersey does not have a confirmed case at this time. Nationwide, there is a total of 64 confirmed cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) in humans across five states:

California, Texas, Kansas, Ohio, and New York. Only one of the U.S. patients identified was hospitalized and all of the patients have fully recovered or are recovering.

Puelle advises residents to take personal precautions. “If you have a fever or respiratory illness, stay home from work or school to avoid spreading the infection. Anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, or more serious symptoms like difficulty breathing should see their health care provider.”

Beckley and Puelle stressed that the best protection to reduce risks of infection is to wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, to cover coughs and sneezes and to dispose of used tissues properly.

To keep up to date on activities of the Swine Flu Task Force here in Hunterdon County, check the updates on the county health department website at www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/health.htm.  The health department also activated its emergency phone bank at 908-237-7150 where representatives are available from 9am-4:30pm weekdays for the next two weeks. Additional information is available at the CDC website www.cdc.gov/flu/swine/index.htm.

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www.co.hunterdon.nj.us | Department of Health | 2009 Public Information & Notices