Health department confirms 1st flu case of 2016-2017 season

JACKSON, Miss. (WTOK) - The Mississippi State Department of Health has reported its first confirmed case of influenza for the 2016-2017 flu season. The patient is from central Mississippi.

This case was detected through MSDH’s influenza surveillance system, a part of which identifies representative flu cases across the state. Healthcare providers also do their own flu testing.

Nationwide, an estimated 3,000-49,000 people die and more than 200,000 are hospitalized each year because of the flu.

While individual flu cases are not reported to MSDH, the agency monitors flu activity through the Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) Sentinel Surveillance System, made up of healthcare providers in Mississippi who report the percentage of patients with flu-like symptoms to a statewide database.

Healthcare providers participating in the system also submit respiratory samples for flu testing to the MSDH Public Health Laboratory. MSDH uses this information to determine the presence and spread of flu throughout the state. The confirmed influenza case in the Public Health Laboratory was tested through this sentinel surveillance system.

Starting this year, adult flu vaccine will no longer be offered at county health department clinics except for those who are under-insured or uninsured and who meet certain high-risk criteria.

While vaccination is the best protection, basic infection control measures can also reduce the spread of flu and should be taken whether or not individuals are vaccinated. 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 by clicking the attached link.