Newsroom > DHHS News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 5, 2009

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

Note: Sound bites on this topic will be available later at: http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/audio.aspx

One New Probable and Three New Confirmed Cases of
H1N1 Flu Reported Today

Lincoln—One new probable and three new confirmed cases of H1N1 (swine-origin) influenza have been reported in Nebraska from Monday’s test results, according to Dr. Joann Schaefer, Chief Medical Officer for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. That brings the total to six probable cases pending confirmation at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and four confirmed Nebraska-resident cases.

“Ninety-nine percent of the probable case specimens that states are sending to the Centers for Disease Control are turning into confirmed cases,” she said. “We now have six probable cases pending there for confirmation, and, based on CDC’s results, I think most, if not all, of them will be confirmed.”

Dr. Schaefer reported yesterday that the CDC was being inundated with specimens and that the time between sending one in for confirmatory testing had grown from 24-48 hours to several days.

“I would like to clarify that it is the CDC that is being flooded with specimens to test,” Dr. Schaefer said. “Consequently, the time lag between sending in a sample and getting a test result for a confirmed case has grown. But here in Nebraska at our Public Health Laboratory, we have the capacity to handle a lot more tests than normal and the testing supplies to do so. So the turnaround here is pretty fast.”

The lab has received the primers and probes from the CDC that are necessary to do confirmatory testing. Once the CDC certifies that the lab is able to conduct this testing, that “should speed up confirmatory testing,” Dr. Schaefer said. “Hopefully, by the end of the week we will have approval by the CDC.”

DHHS is releasing information by 9:00 a.m. weekdays about specimens that are either at the CDC for confirmation or have been confirmed. Cases pending at the Nebraska Public Health Laboratory will no longer be reported because, while it is an important number to public health officials, it is causing confusion among members of the public and media.

Today’s report:

Pending cases are no longer being reported

*New probable cases:    1     Madison (1)

**New confirmed cases: 3    Madison (1), Pierce (1), Sarpy (1)

The three new confirmed cases are school kids aged 5 to 18 from Madison, Pierce and Sarpy counties. The boys are all recovered or recovering. These were the three probable cases announced on Friday, May 1.

The new probable case is a boy between the ages of 5 to 18 from Madison County.

The four Nebraska residents whose cases have been confirmed will be reflected on the DHHS Web site. By tomorrow, the CDC’s Web site will reflect that Nebraska has four confirmed cases. Two additional confirmed cases that were diagnosed within Nebraska’s borders were residents of other states—California and Missouri. California and Missouri will report these two.

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 Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. CT. The phone number to call in is (402) 472-6899. Call no earlier than 1:45.


*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.