Newsroom > DHHS News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 23, 2009

CONTACTS
Bruce Dart, Director, Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, 402-441-8000
Terry Krohn, Director, Two Rivers Public Health Department, 308-991-6313
Dianne Kelly, Director, Sarpy/Cass Department of Health and Wellness, 402-339-4334
Phil Rooney, Douglas County Health Department, 402-444-6427
Leah Bucco-White, Communications and Legislative Services, 402-471-9356, leah.bucco-white@nebraska.gov

 

Additional H1N1 Deaths Reported in Nebraska

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

Lincoln – Four H1N1 deaths have been reported to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services:

  • A woman from Lancaster County in her 60s with serious underlying health problems.
  • A man from South Central Nebraska in his 40s with chronic underlying health conditions including cardiac disease.
  • A Sarpy County woman in her 50s with a blood disorder.
  • The fourth death was announced by the Douglas County Health Department yesterday.

Because of state statutes, names and other details about the patients can’t be released. So far, there have been a total of seven H1N1 flu deaths in Nebraska.

“This is a sad situation, and our thoughts are with the families,” said Dr. Joann Schaefer, Chief Medical Officer for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). “It’s important to remember that H1N1 can be a severe illness for those with chronic underlying health conditions or compromised immunity.”

H1N1 flu activity is widespread across the state. DHHS no longer keeps track of individual cases and follows the CDC’s policy for reporting levels of flu. DHHS will continue to track deaths from H1N1.

Vaccine
H1N1 vaccine continues to arrive in Nebraska. Vaccination not only offers protection against H1N1 flu, but it also reduces the spread of the flu to others.

The CDC recommends the following groups be among the first to receive H1N1 vaccine:

  • People 6 months-24 years old
  • Pregnant women
  • People who live with or provide care for infants younger than 6 months
  • Health care and emergency medical services personnel
  • People 25-64 years old with underlying medical conditions.

Other Protective Measures
There are also other things people can do to protect themselves:

  • Wash your hands often or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid close contact with people who are coughing or otherwise appear sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough with a tissue, not your hands
  • Stay home from work, family gatherings and social functions if you’re sick

Feeling sick?
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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