Mississippi confirms season's first pediatric flu death

Published: Dec. 5, 2018 at 3:18 PM CST
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The Mississippi State Department of Health Wednesday reported the first confirmed pediatric influenza death in Mississippi for the 2018-2019 flu season.

The death was a south Mississippi resident who had underlying health conditions. A pediatric death is a person under age 18.

There have been a total of 20 pediatric flu deaths reported in Mississippi since they became reportable in the 2008-2009 flu season. Nationwide, there have been five pediatric flu deaths reported this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We know that last year there were 183 influenza deaths in children, three of which were in Mississippi,” said MSDH Interim State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs. “Nationally, about 80 percent of the pediatric deaths were in children who were not vaccinated against the flu.”

Mississippi’s first laboratory-confirmed case of flu was reported Tuesday, and it is now all the more important to make sure your entire family gets their flu shots if they have not already, said Dr. Dobbs.

Flu season typically peaks in January through March in Mississippi, and the flu shot usually takes up to two weeks to produce immunity.

Flu shots are recommended for all people six months and older.

The MSDH says 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.

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