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Nebraska Has Two New Probable Cases Of H1N1 Flu

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Two new probable cases of H1N1 (swine-origin) influenza have been identified in Nebraska, and the first probable case has been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control, according to Dr. Joann Schaefer, Chief Medical Officer for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

“Nebraska is reporting to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that our public health lab has detected two additional probable cases of H1N1 flu,” Dr. Schaefer said.

The first probable case was reported on Wednesday and on Thursday it was confirmed by the CDC.

“This was not unexpected,” Dr. Schaefer said. “Although we expect more cases to be confirmed, some of the probable tests may in fact be returned as negative for H1N1 by the CDC. It’s an evolving situation and we will keep the public abreast of the numbers.”

The Douglas County Health Department and the Sarpy/Cass Department of Health and Wellness are working on tracking contacts of the probable cases and to see if they are experiencing any signs of illness. Tracking contacts has already been done for the confirmed case. The Douglas County case is a resident of Missouri and will ultimately be counted as a Missouri case. The other is a resident of Sarpy County.

The Missouri case is a 19-year-old man who is in Nebraska to obtain health care for another health condition. He is hospitalized. The Sarpy County resident is a woman in her 60s who is recovering at home.

“DHHS and the local health departments are working together closely,” Dr. Schaefer said.

Staff members at DHHS are in constant contact with the state Public Health Laboratory, local health departments, the Centers for Disease Control and colleagues in other states, she said. “There is a lot of work to do, a lot of information to digest, and many conference calls to participate in to get more information. This is an evolving situation and we are learning more as things develop.”

DHHS released information about specimens that are either at the Nebraska Public Health Laboratory, that have been sent to the CDC for confirmation, or have been confirmed.

Today DHHS is reporting:

*Pending public health tests: 20

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**Probable cases: 2 Douglas County (1), Sarpy County (1)

***Confirmed cases: 1

That brings the total number of probable cases to date to three, one of which has been confirmed.

Specimens from these probable cases will be sent to the CDC for confirmation. Results are expected within the next 24-48 hours.

People should take precautions to avoid illness, Dr. Schaefer said.

For any flu-like illness:

* People who are sick should stay home from work or school to avoid spreading infections, including influenza, to others in the community.

* 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.

* People experiencing cough, fever and fatigue, possibly along with diarrhea and vomiting, should contact their physician. Drugs called antivirals can reduce the consequences of contracting the flu, if taken early.