Newsroom > DHHS News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 3, 2009

CONTACT
Marla Augustine, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-4047, cell (402) 416-9388 or marla.augustine@nebraska.gov

Note: Previous sound bites on this topic are available at: http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/audio.aspx

 

Nebraska has Two New Confirmed Cases of H1N1 Flu

Three Additional Probables Also Reported


Lincoln—Two new confirmed cases of H1N1 (swine-origin) influenza have been detected in Nebraska, according to Dr. Joann Schaefer, Chief Medical Officer for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

This brings to three the number of confirmed test results from people who have been or are in Nebraska. The first case of H1N1 was confirmed on Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control. That individual was from California and is being counted as a California case by the CDC because nationally, cases are counted by state of residence.

One of the new confirmed cases is a female resident in her 50s from Sarpy County who had traveled to Mexico The other case is a 19-year-old man from Missouri, who will be counted as a case in that state. He is still hospitalized in Douglas County because of another medical condition. His case does not seem to be travel-related.

The CDC’s Web site will reflect that Nebraska has one confirmed case.

“We have our first confirmed case in a Nebraska resident,” Dr. Schaefer said. “It’s a case that is directly connected to Mexico because the woman had traveled in Mexico and became ill within a week of coming back.”

DHHS is reporting an additional three probable cases, which brings the total of probables pending testing at the CDC to eight. Testing there will determine whether they can be counted as confirmed cases.

There are also eight specimens pending preliminary testing at the Nebraska Public Health Laboratory.

“It’s important that people be aware that H1N1 is in Nebraska and spreading,” Dr. Schaefer said. “Unfortunately, there is no immunity to this virus built up in the population and there is no vaccine, but so far, cases have been mild and we hope that this influenza is no worse than the seasonal influenzas that are now circulating, but it’s too soon to tell.”

Local health departments are investigating the probable and confirmed cases to determine and track contacts. Contacts are offered antivirals to prevent the illness.
(For a list of local health departments: http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/puh/oph/lhd.htm )

DHHS is releasing information by 9:00 a.m. daily about specimens that are either at the Nebraska Public Health Laboratory pending testing, that have been sent to the CDC for confirmation, or have been confirmed.

Today’s report:

*New pending public health tests: 8

**New probable cases:  3 Madison (2), Sarpy (1), all aged 5-18

***New confirmed cases:    2 Sarpy (1), Missouri (1)


Advice

If you are moderately to severely ill with a cough, sore throat, fever and body aches (and perhaps vomiting and diarrhea), call your physician. First call the physician’s office and tell staff what symptoms you are experiencing. The physician may want to see you separately from other patients so that you don’t expose them in the waiting room. Your doctor can prescribe an antiviral for you, which will ease your symptoms and possibly shorten the duration of your illness.

For any flu-like illness:

  • People who are sick should stay home from work or school to avoid spreading the
    virus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are coughing or otherwise appear ill.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.

  • Wash hands frequently.

For more information, see the DHHS web site: http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Pages/flu.aspx

 
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NOTE: Numbers of cases will be released by 9:00 a.m. A news release will be sent out and the numbers will be listed on the DHHS Web site. There will be a media briefing on Monday at 2:00 p.m. CT. The phone number to call in is (402) 472-6899. Call no earlier than 1:45.


*Counties of residence will not be given for pending tests.

**The definition of a probable case is a case that has tested positive for influenza A and is not seasonal flu. The specimen will be sent to the CDC for confirmatory testing

***The definition of a confirmed case is one that the CDC has determined is a case of H1N1 influenza. There will be a daily confirmed and a cumulative confirmed number.