State’s outbreak of swine flu defies pattern

With 31 new cases, H1N1 is widespread rather than regional, health officials find

Wednesday, May 27, 2009
BY CARLY ROTHMAN
Star-Ledger Staff

Over the past four days, 31 new cases of H1N1 influenza have been confirmed in New Jersey, bringing the number of cases confirmed in the state to 56, health officials said yesterday.

As more cases have been confirmed, an important fact has emerged: The outbreak in New Jersey is geographically widespread, not regional, local or sporadic as it has appeared in many other states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Now it’s simply community spread,” said Susan Walsh, deputy commissioner of the state Department of Health and Senior Services. “Travel history is not that important. … School attendance is not that important. It’s more a question of who you happen to be next to in the community.”

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New Jersey residents who have contracted the illness range in age from 8 months to 55 years, according to the state health agency.

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