Swine Flu Concerns Grow in Tri-State

Swine flu spreads throughout the tri-state area.

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    Swine flu shots are now being given to city students.

    Top health officials say swine flu is now widespread in New Jersey, meaning that the H1N1 virus is now present in a majority of the state's counties.

    Concern over swine flu is also spreading throughout the state. On Saturday, 17 year old Andres Mendez, a Burlington County teen, died from swine flu, even though his family says he only started to feel feverish on Friday.

    "He woke up and he was burning up," said his sister, Tanya Mendez, "His girlfriend put a cold compress on his head and then she said he started seizing."

    It was a mixture of concern and confusion that brought dozens to swine flu seminar at Hackensack University Medical Center. Desmond Kenneally brought his daughters Megan and Ashley because he is not sure if they should be vaccinated.

    Swine Flu Concerns Grow in Tri-State Area

    [NY] Swine Flu Concerns Grow in Tri-State Area

    "The swine flu vaccination hasn’t been tested enough so I definitely have concerns."

    But Dr. Jeffrey Boscamp, the chief of the children's hospital, says it is imperative for children to be immunized. He says because children are at the epicenter of annual flu outbreaks and because swine flu disproportionately affects those under 25 years of age, vaccinations are that much more necessary.

    "We don't want to panic people," said Dr. Boscamp, "This has been for the most part a mild illness, but there have been people who are severely affected."

    In New York City, students in 125 elementary schools received the first shots of the H1N1 vaccine. But it only happened iwth parental permission. At one school, P.S. 157, only 30 percent of parents returned consent forms. This, health experts say, could put other students at risk.

    "If we're at 30 percent, there's going to be a lot of susceptible kids," said Dr. Boscamp, "If we can get that number up, everyone's going to be protected. That's really key."