Seasonal Flu and Swine Flu

The swine flu outbreak in Mississippi continues to grow and another flu problem is lurking just around the corner.

The number of cases has grown by more than a hundred in the Mississippi since just last week, up over a thousand confirmed cases since the beginning of 2009. Health officials say there are likely many more cases that haven't been confirmed.

As those numbers grow, the regular, seasonal flu season is just around the corner. State health officials say the combination of the seasonal and swine flu will likely make for a very busy winter.

It is very much a mystery what to expect for the flu season.

"Whether it'll be more of the regular old flu or an increase of the H1N1, we can't project ,but we do expect to have a busier flu season overall," said Dr. Rebecca "Tree" James, district health officer for the Mississippi Department of Health.

James said along with a busier season comes an increased need for vaccinations.

"They're not thinking that they'll have a shortage at all," James said of vaccines for seasonal and swine flu.

But health department officials say there were many more cases of the seasonal flu reported in Mississippi in 2008, resulting in several hundred deaths.

Now with the official start of the "regular" flu season, Dr. James says the public can expect to see more cases of the seasonal flu and swine flu as well.

"If you look at pandemics, in the past they sort of peak and trough over a period of 18 months," said James. "So, there's a lot of time still out there."

Mississippi has seen 135 cases of the seasonal flu since spring, higher than the past two years. But state officials say that increase is mainly because of the increased testing due to the swine flu outbreak.


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