To the Editor:

The Westfield Board of Health met on Nov. 3.

Some Westfield residents have expressed concerns about Ebola. However, as discussed at our meeting, there are NO cases of Ebola in town or anywhere in New Jersey.  No one in the schools or in the community is currently at risk of exposure. The airport is monitored and our hospitals are on alert. Health care workers and emergency responders need to be vigilant since virus transmission requires direct contact with the body fluids of an ill infected person.  The Westfield Regional Health Department is working with local groups and hospitals and other government agencies to best plan for the needs of our community.

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The seasonal influenza vaccination program is ongoing and over 250 residents have already been vaccinated. It is best to get vaccinated before the flu starts spreading. Flu kills tens of thousands of people each year in the U.S., compared to one death due to Ebola to date. But, a simple vaccination can prevent the flu. Residents can find a current list of flu vaccination sites and schedules at http://www.westfieldnj.gov/health.

The Health Department offers many types of flu vaccine. For all types, there is a $15 cash fee for each person who does not have Medicare B or one of the following insurances:  Aetna, CIGNA, Humana, Medicaid and United Healthcare.

The Health Department is also sponsoring Cholesterol screening on Monday, November 17, and Bone Density screening on Monday, November 24, with Overlook Hospital. Both programs are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Overlook Downtown Center in Summit, and there is a $10 charge for each. For more information and to register, please call the Overlook Community Health Department at 1-800-247-9580.

Information about all of the Department’s activities is available on its website http://www.westfieldnj.gov/health.  The complete minutes of the November 3 meeting will be posted after review and approval at our December 1 meeting, which starts at 5:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building. The public is invited to attend.