Newsroom > DHHS News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 1, 2009

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

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

 

Nebraska has Three New Probable Cases of H1N1 Flu

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

The first case of H1N1 was confirmed on Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control.

The new probable cases are boys between the ages of 5 and 18, and live in Madison, Pierce and Sarpy counties. None have been hospitalized. The boys are doing well and recovering.

“Because of the geographical distance between cases, H1N1 is obviously in Nebraska and spreading,” Dr. Schaefer said. “I expect more cases. H1N1 is probably a virus that is here to stay.”

Local health departments are investigating the three probable cases to determine and track contacts. DHHS is working closely with them. List of local health departments: http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Pages/puh_oph_lhd.aspx

“In addition to the probables, we also have 31 tests pending at the Nebraska Public Health Laboratory,” Dr. Schaefer said. “Some of these cases may turn out to be new probables. This is an evolving situation and we will keep the public informed as events develop.”

“Guidance and recommendations from the CDC are changing at least daily and we’re working with public health officials across the state to make sound decisions as the situation changes,” she said.

DHHS is releasing information 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 DHHS is reporting yesterday’s pending tests and results:

*Pending public health tests: 31

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

***Confirmed cases: 0

The total confirmed cases in this outbreak is one.

Two additional probables are pending confirmatory testing at the CDC.
Results are expected within the next 24-48 hours.

Advice

If you are moderately to severely ill with a cough, sore throat, fever and body aches (and perhaps vomiting and diarrhea), see your physician as soon as possible. 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. Ask to be tested for influenza. 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 to lessen the spread of respiratory illness.

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

- 30 -

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 on both Saturday and Sunday. There will be no afternoon news conferences on the weekend. Dr. Schaefer will be available for quick media updates by calling Marla Augustine at (402) 471-4047 or (402) 416-9388.

*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. This number is cumulative.