Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Influenza in Morris County, both H1N1 and residual seasonal flu, continues to be seen widespread across the county.

The Morris County Office of Health management reports hospitals continue to test for H1N1 in patients with influenza-like illness requiring hospitalization. Confirmed cases listed on the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services Web site, http://www.state.nj.us/health, may reflect this number as we go forward, said Morris County Health Officer Peter Summers.

“From a public health perspective, it is no longer necessary to sample cases in the community, although we do have a surveillance system in place that will continue to monitor severity,” Summers said.

Some schools in the area are still seeing higher absenteeism rates than usual for this time of year, and students with influenza-like illness are asked to remain home for seven days or 24 hours after symptoms disappear, which ever is longer, Summers said.

“Due to the mild nature of the influenza, many children recover before the seven days, but it is still possible for them to shed virus, which is why the schools are enforcing the seven day recommendation,” Summers said. “This is being done under guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state.”

Summers said thorough and frequent hand washing is the best way to slow the spread of illness and to stay healthy. Eating nutritious foods, such as fruits and vegetables, getting some physical activity and enough rest are also helpful for staying healthy.

Individuals with underlying chronic illness of any kind and who have flu-like symptoms should contact their health care provider for medical guidance. Any municipal health department can provide additional information or answer questions regarding the H1N1 Influenza. Individuals may also visit the Morris County Health Management Web site, http://www.morrishealth.org.