Weekly Flu Updates

It’s that time of the year again. Influenza, or the flu, is rampant. While there is a lot you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones, such as getting the flu shot, constant hand-washing, and staying home when you are ill, one thing public health does to keep the public safe is tracking weekly instances of influenza-like illnesses in schools, long-term care facilities, and hospitals. This information is provided to the CDC, which then compiles it to monitor and watch for outbreaks around the country.

For more information, visit their website below. Nebraska is located in Region 7.


Benefit & Career Fair

All military service members, veterans, and their spouses are invited to participate in a benefit and career fair. At the fair, you will be able to:

  • Enroll in VA healthcare
  • Submit claims to VA healthcare
  • Learn about veteran benefits from multiple community organizations
  • Learn about job opportunities from over 15 local employers

The fair will be held on Wednesday, November 7th from 10:00am-6:00pm at 2337 K Street in Fairbury.

Join us!

West Nile Virus Update

Mosquito Pool in Gage County Tests Positive for West Nile Virus

Nebraska DHHS has reported that a mosquito pool collected in Gage County has tested positive for West Nile Virus. This is the first report of a positive mosquito pool in the PHS district this season.

West Nile Virus (WNV) is most commonly transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat WNV. Fortunately, most people infected with the virus do not have symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever and other symptoms. About 1 in 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness. To date, PHS has confirmed two cases of neuro-invasive WNN in the district and one blood donor has screened positive for the virus.

Late summer is typically when we see increased cases of WNV in our area. Taking steps to prevent mosquito bites remains the best defense against West Nile Virus.

* Use insect repellent containing Deet when you are outdoors

* Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants & socks when outdoors

* Avoid going out at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active

* Eliminate standing water around your homes and in the community

If you have questions regarding West Nile virus or mosquito prevention, please contact Public Health Solutions at 402-826-3880 or email Kate Lange.

Step up to Health!

The Beatrice YMCA is hosting a free walking club called “”. This one hour class on Thursdays will begin September 13th with the last class ending October 18th. This is a great way to spend a fall evening, it includes a casual walk along Beatrice trails while learning about ways to improve your health. The YMCA will sponsor a 3 month membership and other incentives based on attendance. Please contact Shelly Baumann, Community Health Worker or the YMCA at 402- 223-5266 to sign up. Community Health Worker training and toolkit for walking club provided by Public Health Solutions.

Free Training: Stop the Bleed/Bloodborne Pathogens

Please register in advance!

PHS Mosquito Counts

Every year, Public Health Solutions maintains surveillance of mosquito activity in our five-county area. This includes testing mosquitoes for West Nile Virus (WNV) and any associated infections reported at our local hospitals. The most recent report includes the following.

To date (10/02/2018), there have been:

In Nebraska

  • 163 cases of WNV in Nebraska
  • 80 cases non-neuroinvasive
  • 83 neuroinvasive
  • Highest number of cases is in the 51-60 year old age group
  • 8 deaths related WNV infection
  • Deaths
    • Age 61-70: 2 deaths
    • Age 71+: 6 deaths

In the PHS District

Probable WNV Cases in PHS district: 4

Probable Case Locations: Fillmore County: 2, Saline County: 1, Thayer County: 1

Deaths: 0


Click here to learn more about West Nile Virus and how to protect yourself and your family.

Updated 10/02/2018

Nebraska AHEC’s August Update!

As the new host site for the Southeast Nebraska Area Health Education Center (AHEC), Public Health Solutions has been working hard to achieve the program goal of connecting students to health careers, professionals to communities, and communities to better health. Check out the Nebraska (AHEC) August Update newsletter to find out what’s happening across the Nebraska AHEC network!

AmeriCorps: Now Recruiting Members

Become a Community Preparedness Educator!

Provide disaster preparedness outreach and educational opportunities to communities, organizations, and partner groups in order to move toward a more prepared, safer community!


This is a 9 month commitment of about 25 hours per week

Cannot be listed on the National Sex Offenders Public Registry

Must be 17+ years of age and a US Citizen, National, or Legal Resident

Looking for people who are team-oriented, organized, reliable, and passionate about making a DIFFERENCE!

Spanish-speaking is a plus!


$4,000 Stipend

$2,960 Education Award after completing service hours

      (Members 55+ eligible to transfer Education Award)

Receive loan forbearance on existing student loans and have your interest paid while being a member!

To become a member, please contact:


(402) 826-6695

For more information about AmeriCorps, visit:



It’s Antibiotic Awareness Week!

Each year in the United States, at least two million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die as a direct result of these infections. The use of antibiotics is the single most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance around the world. Antibiotics are among the most commonly prescribed drugs used in human medicine. However, up to 50% of all the antibiotics prescribed for people are not needed or are not optimally effective as prescribed. Antibiotics are also commonly used for promoting growth in food animals, one type of use that is not necessary.

During November 13-19, 2017, the annual U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week will be observed. It’s part of the nationwide effort to improve antibiotic stewardship in communities, in healthcare facilities, and on the farm with all our partners. The one-week observance raises awareness of the threat of antibiotic resistance and the importance of appropriate antibiotic prescribing and use. (CDC.gov)

Watch this video to learn more about antibiotic resistance!

PHAN Award Nomination

M Jane Ford Witthoff has dedicated over 51 years of her life to the public health cause, working diligently to improve the health and wellness of the communities she has served. She began her career in 1963 as a Laboratory Technician, but quickly moved on in her career into the public health realm. Jane started in 1971 as a Food Stamp Caseworker in Norfolk, Nebraska and proceeded to advance into leadership roles within public health. She served as the Health Director for Lincoln-Lancaster Health Department for 17 years. Under her leadership, the Department achieved state and national prominence for innovative work. For the past ten years, Jane has turned her attention to improving the health of rural Nebraskans. During her tenure at Public Health Solutions, she increased the overall capacity from a department of less than ten staff members to a vibrant, diverse workforce of over 20 public health professionals. Through the course of her career, Jane has held many leadership positions at a local, state, and national level. These positions included serving in various officer positions, ultimately serving as the president for the National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO), the Public Health Association of Nebraska (PHAN), and for the Nebraska Association of County Health Officials (NACHO). In 1997, she also became a lifetime member of PHAN. Jane maintains many affiliations and memberships in multiple public health organizations.

Because of her vast work experience in advocating for underserved populations, Jane has maintained a compassionate heart and continues to advocate strongly for those without a voice. In the words of Mark Schoenrock, Public Health Solutions Board Member, “Jane has made such a positive difference in the lives of so many, whether it is young children [needing] immunizations, school children [needing] dental prevention and treatment services, communities getting [access to] health care, or elderly getting vital health services, or anywhere in between, Jane has been there for so many years to ensure these services are provided. She has been a tireless advocate for public health and has been instrumental in getting the needed resources to provide the services that public health requires.” The public will continue to benefit from Jane’s hard work through the many public health professionals that she has trained and mentored throughout the years. This is exemplified through the statements made by fellow Health Director Gina Uhing of Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department, “I became a Director five years ago. Jane soon became one of the people that I looked to for guidance on a regular basis. She has a real talent in generating novel ideas, explaining those ideas, and more importantly, she displays the drive and courage to implement the idea and to tirelessly work to recruit supporters and partners to make the project stronger.”

Those fortunate enough to know and have worked with Jane, can attest to her strong will and determination. Jane never compromises on her beliefs and does not hesitate to challenge the status quo in order to improve upon the system. Regardless of the political climate and risk to her career, Jane continues to display the drive and courage to speak out on difficult issues, and give her opinions and thoughts. This is evidenced in a story from Rex Archer, Director of Health, Kansas City Health Department, “When I became health officer I vividly remember attending an American Public Health Association meeting where Jane was presenting in her red blazer. She literally lit a fire under me…Jane stands in a small, select group of Public health officials with the skill of mobilizing their community to support Public Health.”

Few individuals leave such a tremendous impact, that they will forever be remembered as icons of public health in Nebraska. Jane’s devotion to public health has earned her this remarkable status. As a pioneer in Nebraska’s public health system, Jane has forged a path that will guide the success of public health now and for years to come. On behalf of the entire Public Health Solutions staff and Board of Health, we thank Jane for her remarkable and unselfish lifetime commitment to public health. We consider her not simply a colleague, but a mentor and friend. We will honor her legacy by continuing the important work to which she has devoted her entire life. We hope that PHAN will join us in honoring Jane with this prestigious award.