JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports one pediatric influenza death in a Lafayette County child. Pediatric deaths are defined as deaths of individuals age 18 and under. The child tested positive for Influenza A and had underlying health conditions.
Since the beginning of the 2009-2010 flu season on August 30, 2009, there have been 26 Influenza-related deaths – including four pediatric deaths – reported in Mississippi. Most of the cases have been laboratory-confirmed as 2009 H1N1 (swine) flu.
“We are still in flu season in Mississippi, and most of the cases so far have been 2009 H1N1 flu. However, we are now seeing some cases of seasonal flu as well,” said State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier.
The influenza vaccine remains the most important way to prevent infection. Individuals with underlying, chronic health conditions are at an increased risk for complications from influenza, and vaccination is especially important. The 2009 H1N1 vaccine is free at all county health departments.
Symptoms of flu include fever, cough, and often, extreme fatigue. Sore throat, headache, muscle aches, and a runny or stuffy nose are also often present.
While shots are the best protection, basic infection control measures can also reduce the spread of flu. These measures include covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing, staying at home when you or your children are sick and washing your hands frequently.
To locate a county health department clinic in your area or for more information on flu and pneumonia, visit the MSDH website at www.HealthyMS.com or call 1-866-HLTHY4U (1-866-458-4948).