SPARTA n Dr. Raymond DiPaolo, a member of the Medical Staff at Newton Memorial Hospital has been recognized for his work in understanding and controlling the epidemiology of influenza on behalf of the residents of Sussex County. As a participating County in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) of influenza like illnesses; Sentinel Surveillance Program, Sussex County Division of Health works with local physicians who report directly to CDC and/or the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services Communicable Disease Service. The information is used to track and trend influenza like activities as well as to plan for appropriate vaccine development and utilization in future years. During the 2005-06 influenza season, physicians will continue to be asked to participate in the Sentinel Surveillance Program. The information provided will assist the CDC in a better understanding of the influenza like illnesses in the age and geographic distribution throughout the region. The CDC reports that the outlook for flu vaccine supplies during the upcoming season is good. “Some residents are at high risk for serious complications,” Dr. DiPaolo advises “such as healthy children 6-23 months, adults aged 65 years and older; individuals age 2-64 with underlying chronic medical conditions; all women who will be pregnant during the flu season; residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities; children 6 months to 18 years who are on chronic aspirin therapy, and healthcare workers with direct patient care. Healthy people between the ages of 5-49 may decide to receive a flu shot as well. The flu season will be upon us very soon, therefore it is important to make an appointment for either yourself or someone who is under your care to receive the vaccine.” There are ways you can protect yourself against contacting the flu: Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Stay home when you are sick. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Be sure to clean your phone after use with a disinfectant.