- The Department of Health and Senior Services, in conjunction with
local health departments, has resumed surveying selected schools,
nursing homes and hospitals on a weekly basis to determine the level
of influenza-like illness activity occurring within each county
in the state. Weekly statistical summaries are posted on the department's
website at www.state.nj.us/health/fluinfo/.
the week of November 27, 2001, 108 schools, 54 nursing homes and
50 hospitals were polled. The overall student absenteeism rate was
5.03%, down from 5.62% the week before. The nursing home rate of
1.44% of residents with flu-like symptoms was relatively unchanged
from the week before, while the emergency room rate of 6.31% was
up from 5.10% the previous week.
active surveillance system, now in it's second season, provides
a clear picture of influenza and influenza-like illness activity
and trends. Survey information supplements the passive system through
which schools and nursing homes are asked to report activity only
when 15% of the student or resident population is absent or develops
this flu season, nurses and administrative staff from selected schools,
nursing homes and hospitals statewide will report to their local
health department the number of students absent or the number of
residents and patients ill with influenza-like illness on Tuesday
of each week. The information is then forwarded to the department,
tabulated and reported via the web Friday or the following Monday.
institutions surveyed have volunteered to participate in this enhanced
system. A minimum of four schools and nursing homes per county will
be polled each week.
posted on the website includes a description of surveillance activities,
a weekly update of statewide statistics, and line graphs tracking
activity in schools, nursing homes and hospitals throughout the
New Jersey this year compared to last. County-specific data will
also be posted on the site.
part of its heightened surveillance activities, the department has
expanded its sentinel physician program this season to include more
than 30 private practice doctors. These doctors report the number
of patients with flu-like illness seen in their offices, and some
will also obtain cultures from selected patients for testing by
the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to
determine which types and strains of influenza virus are active
in the state. This information will be added to the weekly activity
website as it becomes available.
has been one isolate of influenza A virus in New Jersey this season,
coming from a Mercer County resident and reported by McGuire Air
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