Newsroom > DHHS News Release
For Immediate Release
October 17, 2014
Contact Leah Bucco-White, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-9356
First Flu Cases Confirmed in Nebraska;
DHHS Encourages Vaccination
Lincoln – Flu is here. The first confirmed cases of the season have been reported to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. There are three, all in Douglas County.
“Several viruses are in the news right now including Ebola and enterovirus, but it’s also important to remember that flu can be a serious disease,” said Dr. Joseph Acierno, Chief Medical Officer and Director of Public Health for DHHS. “Getting vaccinated is the most important step you can take to protect yourself and your family from flu.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated for the flu in the fall, or as soon as vaccine is available.
New this year, children between 2 and 8 years old should receive the nasal spray vaccine, according to the CDC. Recent research suggests the nasal spray flu vaccine may be more effective than the flu shot in younger children. However, parents shouldn’t delay vaccination if the nasal spray vaccine isn’t available.
While flu can make anyone sick, certain people are at greater risk for serious complications, and it’s especially important they receive vaccine:
- Young children
- Older people
- People with chronic lung disease (like asthma and COPD), diabetes (type 1 and 2), heart disease, neurologic conditions and certain other long-term health conditions
- Pregnant women
Severe cases of flu can lead to hospitalization and even death.
The severity and the length of flu seasons vary, but flu season in the U.S. typically peaks between December and February. Though public health officials can’t predict exactly what flu season will be like this year, they recommend getting vaccinated as soon as possible for the best protection.
DHHS officially started flu surveillance Sept. 28. Surveillance shows where the flu is and how fast it’s spreading across the state.
DHHS uses multiple surveillance systems to track flu viruses, including sentinel physicians who report the number of people with flu-like illness weekly, lab tests, school surveillance, hospital data, emergency department data and death reporting.