JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) is reporting its first laboratory-confirmed case of influenza for the 2019-2020 flu season. The case was reported in a child under 18 years of age.
While flu cases have been diagnosed and treated by healthcare providers throughout the state already this season, this is the first case confirmed in the MSDH Public Health Laboratory, detected through the Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) Sentinel Surveillance System.
“While last year’s flu season was not particularly severe, there were still 116 pediatric flu deaths nationwide, including one child here in Mississippi,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. “Nationwide, the 2017-2018 flu season killed 183 children – three of whom were in Mississippi – and an estimated 80,000 adults. Influenza is a serious illness that should not be taken lightly.”
“We recommend getting vaccinated now before we reach peak flu activity. Influenza vaccine is especially important for young children, pregnant women, those over 65, and those with underlying health problems,” he said. “Flu vaccine is the best way to protect both children and adults from serious complications such as hospitalization, and in many cases, death.”
Dr. Byers said that flu season can occur as early as November and as late as March in Mississippi, but usually peaks anywhere from December through February.
Pediatric flu shots are now available at all Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) county clinics. Seasonal flu vaccination is recommended for anyone ages six months and older to prevent the spread of flu, and more importantly, save lives.
Those 18 and under who are eligible for the Vaccines for Children program can receive a flu vaccination for $10. Insurance, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is accepted for children’s flu shots.
More information about Influenza and prevention: https://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/14,0,199.htmlTags: Influenza season, MS Department of Health, New Albany MS