H1N1 Flu Claims First NJ Life

STATE – On Monday, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services announced the first H1N1-related death of New Jersey resident. The patient was a 49-year-old Essex County man who had multiple underlying medical conditions, officials said.

The patient, who was not identified, died in Mountainside Hospital in Montclair on Saturday. He became ill with fever and respiratory symptoms on May 30, was hospitalized on June 2 with pneumonia and his illness worsened, according to officials

“Our prayers and thoughts are with this man’s family,” said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Heather Howard. “Today’s announcement underscores the seriousness of influenza – any type of influenza, not just H1N1. I urge all New Jersey residents to remain vigilant and take the proper precautions to protect themselves and their families.”

To date, New Jersey has 320 confirmed cases of H1N1 influenza in 19 counties and 194 probable cases. Nationally, there are 17,855 confirmed and probable cases in 50 states.  There have been 45 deaths in the United States. Approximately 74 counties worldwide have confirmed cases of H1N1 influenza.

“Although a large majority of cases both in New Jersey and around the country have been mild, it is vital that everyone remain vigilant and practice good hygiene habits. People should also stay informed and monitor their own health,” said Howard. “Influenza strains can change very quickly and New Jersey’s public health partners are continuing to monitor this disease to better understand how it will affect people now and in the fall, when our seasonal flu season returns.”

Howard continues to urge all New Jersey residents to take preventive measures to avoid getting sick. These include:

  • Washing your hands frequently and thoroughly
  • Covering coughs and sneezes
  • Staying home from work or school if you are sick

H1N1 influenza is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that cause regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get H1N1 influenza, but human infections can and do happen.

The symptoms of H1N1 influenza in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting. Severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been associated with H1N1 influenza in people, especially in Mexico for reasons that are not known. Like seasonal flu, H1N1 influenza might cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.

For more information on H1N1 influenza, visit www.cdc.gov/swineflu or www.nj.gov/health.

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