Newsroom > DHHS News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 7, 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 are available at:http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/audio/

No New Cases of H1N1 Flu to Report Today

Lincoln—No new probable or confirmed cases of H1N1 (swine-origin) influenza have been reported in Nebraska from Wednesday’s test results, according to Dr. Joann Schaefer, Chief Medical Officer for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

“This is only a lull in the reporting of test results, not a lull in flu activity,” Dr. Schaefer said.

There are nine probable cases pending confirmation at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Four cases among Nebraska residents have been confirmed. In addition, two residents of other states—California and Missouri—have been confirmed as cases.

A summary of H1N1 confirmed and probable cases:

Case Status   County Age Range Gender
Confirmed  Sarpy 60s F
Confirmed Sarpy 5-18 M
Confirmed Pierce 5-18 M
Confirmed Madison 5-18 M
Probable Scotts Bluff 5-18 M
Probable Sarpy 50s F
Probable Madison 5-18 F
Probable Madison 5-18 M
Probable Sarpy 5-18 M
Probable Madison 5-18 M
Probable Stanton 5-18 M
Probable Madison 5-18 F
Probable Sarpy 5-18 F

“I expect that Nebraska’s numbers of probable and confirmed cases will continue to grow,” Dr. Schaefer said. “I know that some people think this situation with H1N1 is over-hyped, but the elderly, very young children and people who have compromised immune systems are at greatest risk. No one will have immunity to this virus and there is no vaccine. We can expect outbreaks in those populations, with serious consequences.”

While the CDC says there is insufficient data to determine who is at higher risk for complications of H1N1 at this time, the same age and risk groups who are at higher risk for seasonal influenza complications should also be considered at higher risk for H1N1.

Groups at higher risk for seasonal influenza complications include:

“I expect that Nebraska’s numbers of probable and confirmed cases will continue to grow,” Dr. Schaefer said. “I know that some people think this situation with H1N1 is over-hyped, but the elderly, very young children and people who have compromised immune systems are at greatest risk. No one will have immunity to this virus and there is no vaccine. We can expect outbreaks in those populations, with serious consequences.”While the CDC says there is insufficient data to determine who is at higher risk for complications of H1N1 at this time, the same age and risk groups who are at higher risk for seasonal influenza complications should also be considered at higher risk for H1N1.Groups at higher risk for seasonal influenza complications include:
  • Children less than 5 years old;
  • Persons aged 65 or older;
  • Children and adolescents who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy and who might be at risk for experiencing Reye syndrome;
  • Pregnant women;
  • Adults and children who have chronic lung, heart, liver or other disorders;
  • Adults and children whose immune systems are compromised;
  • Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities.

“Even though these populations are at greater risk, nobody is immune from it. We mustn’t be complacent,” Dr. Schaefer said. “

“There is a lot we don’t know about this virus. Activity in the southern hemisphere, where they are just entering their flu season, may tell us more about it and its behavior, and maybe what we can expect when our own flu season is here next fall.”

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. weekdays. A news release will be sent out and the numbers will be listed on the DHHS Web site. There will be no media briefing today. Media briefings will be held on an as-needed basis, pending a significant development.

*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.