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For Release:
October 03, 2006

Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.

For Further Information Contact:
Gretchen Michael
Thomas Slater

DHSS: “Get Flu Ready New Jersey”


The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has launched a multi-media public awareness campaign –“Get Flu Ready New Jersey” – to help individuals, families, businesses and schools prepare for a potential influenza pandemic.

Beginning October 1 New Jersey Health and Senior Services Commissioner Fred M. Jacobs will be featured in public service announcements reminding residents to “get flu ready” by preparing an emergency health plan, practicing good hygiene habits and learning about the potential impact of a pandemic before it occurs.

The 30-second public service announcements are airing at video screens located in 176 Acme, Pathmark and ShopRite supermarkets throughout New Jersey. The video will run five times per hour daily during the month of October.

“Every New Jersey resident should know how to prepare their families, friends, coworkers and neighbors for an influenza pandemic,” said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.  “We don’t know when a pandemic will occur or how severe it will be, but there are steps everyone can take now to prepare for a worldwide flu outbreak.”

An important component of the campaign is a website dedicated to pandemic influenza – The website provides residents, businesses, schools and health care professionals with a single resource for comprehensive information about the possibility of a global outbreak of influenza. Information is available in both English and Spanish.

The website includes resources such as fact sheets, planning checklists, guidelines for health professionals and community presentations. There are also links to the New Jersey Influenza Pandemic Plan, the federal website, and information from other state agencies.

An influenza pandemic is a global outbreak that occurs when a new virus appears in humans that can cause serious illness and spread easily from person to person. Three major pandemics occurred in the 20th century and no one knows for sure when the next pandemic will happen, although health experts say the next pandemic is overdue.

The DHSS, in partner with local health departments, has developed and distributed posters and flyers that encourage residents to “Get Flu Ready New Jersey.” The posters and flyers will be displayed at a wide range of sites, including local municipal buildings, health departments, physicians offices and schools. The posters and flyers are available in both English and Spanish.

“Although there is no pandemic, and there are no human cases of avian influenza in the United States, it is important for everyone – from families to schools to businesses to government -- to prepare for the possibility of a pandemic,” said Dr. Jacobs.

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