Newsroom > DHHS News Release

For Immediate Release
February 24, 2017

Leah Bucco-White, Communications and Legislative Services, 402-471-9356

Child Flu Death Reported to DHHS
Flu activity still high across state

Lincoln—A child flu-related death in eastern Nebraska was reported to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. State health officials said that it’s not unusual for there to be some child deaths during a normal flu season but they have been rare in Nebraska. Nationally, 34 children have died from flu this season according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“While most people recover from flu, it can also be a life-threatening illness,” said Dr. Tom Safranek, State Epidemiologist for DHHS. “We do see thousands of hospitalizations and sadly several deaths related to flu every season.”

Statewide there have been a total of 33 flu-related deaths so far.

Although flu activity peaked in early February, it continues to circulate at high levels across Nebraska and will be around for several more weeks.

Antiviral drugs like Tamiflu should be used as early as possible in people who have flu-like illness. For those who aren’t sick, common sense preventive measures along with flu vaccine can help prevent flu and other winter illnesses.

Protect yourself from the flu by:
  • Washing your hands often
  • Avoiding contact with people who are sick 
  • Staying home from work, family gatherings and social functions if you’re sick
  • Covering your mouth and nose when you cough with a tissue or sleeve, not your hands 
  • Eating healthy and get plenty of rest 
  • Don’t smoke

Vaccination plays a critical role in the fight against the flu. It can reduce flu-related illnesses, visits to the doctor, missed work and school and flu-related hospitalizations.
The CDC recommends flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older.

While flu can make anyone sick, certain people are at greater risk for serious complications, and it’s extremely important they receive vaccine and it’s not too late to be vaccinated.    

  • Young children
  • Adults 65 years of age or older
  • Pregnant women
  • People with chronic lung disease (like asthma and COPD), diabetes (type 1 and 2), heart disease, neurologic conditions and certain other long-term health conditions 
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities

For more flu information, visit the DHHS website at or the CDC website at