Ocean County Confirms Additional H1N1 Flu Cases

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“An additional case of the novel H1N1 influenza virus has been laboratory-confirmed in a young child in Manchester Township,” said Freeholder Gerry P. Little, Liaison to the Ocean County Health Department. “To date, there have only been 3 laboratory-confirmed cases of H1N1 in Ocean County, the one in Manchester and 2 in Lakehurst. The child is home after being discharged from a local hospital.”

“The Ocean County Health Department has received numerous calls regarding H1N1 from school nurses and the general population with concerns about this virus. We have had reports that individuals have received a rapid diagnostic test at his or her doctor’s office and have tested positive for influenza A. A rapid diagnostic test that yields influenza A infection could mean that the person has H1N1 or has the seasonal flu, which is still circulating, or the patient yielded a false-positive test. Health care professionals use the rapid influenza diagnostic tests to help diagnose and manage the treatment of patients,” stated Ella Boyd, VMD, and Ocean County Health Department Public Health Coordinator.

Influenza-like illness, which may be H1N1, seasonal flu or other viral illness will be seen and diagnosed by physicians throughout Ocean County. Not all cases of H1N1 will be definitely laboratory-confirmed by testing as there is no need to do so. Both seasonal flu and H1N1 are treated the same. Leslie Terjesen, Health Department Public Information Officer says, “The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS) have reviewed the Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for laboratory testing of H1N1. NJDHSS has recommended that only people who are hospitalized with influenza-like symptoms or people who are part of a cluster of individuals with influenza-like illness be tested for H1N1. A cluster is defined as 2 or more individuals with symptom onset within 7 days of each other residing in the same household or associated with the same institution/activity/event (i.e., work, school, travel).”

H1N1 is a new, or novel, virus and most people have no immunity to it. We do know how we can protect ourselves and loved ones by continuing to do the following:

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

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· Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw away the tissue or cough or sneeze in your sleeve.

· Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth,

· Try to avoid contact with people who are ill.

· If you are sick, stay home from school or work.

· Stay informed about the situation as it evolves from credible sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services or the Ocean County Health Department.

Dr. Boyd also stated, “Infected people may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 7 or more days after becoming sick and children may be contagious for a longer period of time. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. If you become ill with influenza-like symptoms, including fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit, or greater), body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, you should contact your health care provider.”

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