Newsroom > DHHS News Release

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 27, 2009

CONTACT
Marla Augustine, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-4047 or marla.augustine@nebraska.gov

 

Nebraska Has Third H1N1 Death

Level of Flu Activity Up to “Regional”

Lincoln —The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is reporting the third death of a Nebraska resident due to novel H1N1 influenza virus. The patient was
a woman in her 20s who resided in Douglas County. The woman had a chronic, underlying health condition. Because of state statutes, the name and other details about the patient can’t be released.

“My heartfelt condolences to her family,” said Dr. Joann Schaefer, Chief Medical Officer. “What we are seeing is that H1N1 can be a very serious illness for those who have chronic health conditions, such as heart disease and asthma, or who have compromised immune systems.”

Today the state upped its reported level of flu to regional—meaning there have been outbreaks of flu or an increase in influenza-like illness in at least two areas of the state. DHHS no longer keeps track of individual cases and follows the CDC’s policy for reporting levels of flu. The Department will continue to keep track of deaths from H1N1.

“Unfortunately, H1N1 influenza is circulating in the state, and I expect more cases of illness,” Dr. Schaefer said. “I urge people to please take precautions, like washing hands frequently, coughing into a sleeve or tissue, and staying away from people who are ill. We need to remain vigilant, but not panic.”

To determine the level of flu in the state, DHHS takes reports from the local health departments of hospitalizations for influenza-like illness, results from over 80 reporting laboratories in the state and reports from 18 sentinel physicians about the numbers of cases of influenza-like illness they are seeing in their offices.

Advice

Most people who get H1N1 recover on their own without additional treatment. If you are only mildly ill, you don’t need to seek treatment.

If you are moderately to severely ill with a cough or sore throat and a fever over 100 degrees, particularly if you have underlying medical conditions, call your physician. A physician may prescribe an antiviral, which can lessen the symptoms and possibly shorten the duration of your illness. Your physician may feel comfortable treating you without being seen if you have serious underlying health conditions.

People who are sick should stay home from work or school for 24 hours after their fever ends. Parents should have a plan on how to keep their child home if he or she becomes ill.

Additional symptoms of H1N1 are body aches and sometimes may include vomiting and diarrhea.

For more information, see the DHHS Web site: http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Pages/flu.aspx and subscribe to updates for the most current information. For a list of local health departments go to: http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Pages/puh_oph_lhd.aspx.

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