Alegent Health Clinic Continues to Monitor H1N1 Flu
Release Date: 07/17/2009
Media Contact: Jen Homann
(402) 343-4676

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State of Nebraska reports first death due to the novel virus

OMAHA, Neb. – The state of Nebraska has confirmed its first death due to the H1N1 flu virus, more commonly known as the swine flu. Since April, the state has seen more than 250 cases of this new strain of influenza. Though the majority of the patients have been between the ages of 5 and 24, physicians warn that the virus can be particularly serious to people of all ages – especially those who suffer from chronic disease.

“Your underlying medical condition is an important factor,” said Alegent Health Clinic family physician Doug Dunning, M.D. “People who get the H1N1 novel strain are more likely to develop serious consequences if they have other health issues.”

Though the report of a death in the state does raise concerns among physicians, Dr. Dunning hopes people will keep the entire picture in perspective. “There are just over 200 deaths nationwide with the novel H1N1 flu,” said Dr. Dunning. “But when we look at the seasonal flu – the regular flu that we see every fall and winter – up to 36,000 to 38,000 people die national every year from that, so that helps us understand that this flu strain is not particularly more deadly or dangerous but it is new and it certainly merits watching.”

Most important, according to Dr. Dunning – people must make sure they are washing their hands often, not touching their eyes, nose or mouth and they need to make sure they’re staying home when they feel under the weather. “Remember, with the risk of the novel H1N1 flu, don’t hesitate to call your physician with any questions,” said Dr. Dunning.

The following video and audio clips from Dr. Dunning are available for download and use in your stories

How do I know this is the flu? wmv mp3
What do I do if I'm feeling sick? wmv mp3
When should I call the doctor? wmv mp3
How do I protect my children? wmv mp3
What are the symptoms? wmv mp3
When will there be a vaccine? wmv mp3

About Alegent Health
Alegent Health is the largest not-for-profit, faith-based healthcare system in Nebraska and southwestern Iowa with 10 hospitals, more than 100 sites of service, over 1,300 physicians on its medical staff and 9,000 employees. Alegent Health is ranked first in the country in quality and patient satisfaction according to the Network for Regional healthcare Improvement (NRHI). That exceptional commitment to providing patient focused care for the body, mind and spirit of every person keeps Alegent Health faithful to its Mission, which was inspired by its sponsors, Catholic Health Initiatives and Immanuel Health Systems. At Alegent Health, patients and their families find a continuum of care, from women's and children's services, primary care, wellness counseling, and senior care to cardiovascular services, orthopaedics, oncology, physical rehabilitation and behavioral health. Alegent Health is online at