Now NJ: Garden State Identifies Five Probable Swine Flu Cases


swine-flu5NJ State health officials have identified five probable cases of swine flu in people who recently traveled to Mexico and California. The Department of Health and Senior Services said that all have mild forms of the flu and none has been hospitalized. It said it is arranging for confirmatory testing at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Results are expected within two days.

The patients include residents of several counties, but health officials declined to specify where or to give ages of the patients. Four of the five recently traveled to Mexico; the fifth had traveled to California.

Mexico is considered the epicenter of the swine flu outbreak, with 149 suspected deaths and nearly 2,000 people believed to be infected. California has 11 confirmed cases.

The local cases were identified through preliminary tests conducted at the New Jersey Public Health and Environmental Laboratories.

The state has launched a stepped-up monitoring program involving doctors and hospitals statewide, said Dr. Susan Walsh, its deputy health commissioner.

“We’re looking for patients who meet the criteria: flu-like symptoms plus a travel history or contact with an ill person who’s been traveling,” Walsh said.

The health department also has asked schools and day care centers to be watchful for children with influenza-like symptoms and report them to their local health departments.

New Jersey has stockpiled some 800,000 doses of Tamiflu and other antiviral medications, officials said, and plans to accept another 300,000 doses from the Strategic National Stockpile.

The symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of seasonal flu and include fever, lack of appetite, coughing and fatigue.

In the U.S., there also are 28 confirmed cases in New York, six in Texas, two in Kansas and one in Ohio. The U.S. cases have appeared to be much milder than the Mexican cases.

{CBS Radio Inc./ Newscenter}