JACKSON, Miss. – Since August 29, 2009, the beginning of the 2009-2010 flu season, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports 22 influenza-related deaths in Mississippi. The latest death is a female child in DeSotoCounty.
Since the beginning of flu season, deaths have been reported in Jones (4), Jackson (2), Tate (2), Washington (2), Alcorn, Covington, DeSoto, Hancock, Hinds, Marion, Pearl River, Pike, Simpson, Stone, Tippah and Webster counties.
“Sadly, this serves as a reminder that all Mississippians – regardless of age or health conditions – need to get a swine flu vaccination,” said State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier.
The 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) injectable and nasal mist vaccine are available to the general public ages six months and older. Both the injectable vaccine and the nasal mist vaccine are free at all county health departments. Some private providers also have the vaccine available.
“Those who have not received the swine flu vaccine could find themselves vulnerable in the event of a third wave of swine flu. While individuals who are over 65 years of age are not at high risk for infection, they are certainly at high risk for complications like pneumonia if they become infected. This is the perfect window of opportunity for personal protection if you have not already received the vaccine. It is not too late,” said Dr. Currier.
For additional personal protection against both seasonal and swine flu, Dr. Currier recommends all Mississippians continue using basic preventive methods including washing your hands frequently or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, coughing or sneezing into your sleeve, or coughing into a tissue followed by hand washing, and avoiding close contact with those who are sick. If you are ill, stay home until you are well, unless you need to see a doctor, in which case call first to prevent possible transmission in the doctor’s waiting area.
For more information on 2009 H1N1 (swine flu), visit the MSDH website at www.HealthyMS.com or call the toll-free MSDH flu hotline at 1-877-222-9FLU. The hotline hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except state holidays.To receive updates on Twitter, visit the MSDH H1N1 swine flu page to sign up as a follower.