Flu numbers lower than last year, still climbing

Jackson, Miss. — Medical experts say this has been a mild flu season but the number of people with flu-like symptoms is up in Mississippi. Flu season peaks in late January and early February. Even though numbers are down from last year, doctors are still urging people not to let their guard down. Dr. Skip Nolan, Director of the Division of Infectious Disease at UMMC, says, “Compared to last year it has not been nearly as bad a season.

Dr. Skip Nolan, Director of the Division of Infectious Disease at UMMC, says, “Compared to last year it has not been nearly as bad a season. Of course it’s not over yet. But compared to last year not nearly as many cases so far.”

The Mississippi Department of Health reported in the last week of December 2015 that 4% of people in the state show flu-like symptoms. That’s more than 13,000 people. That number is still lower than this time last yar when 10% had symptoms. Dr. Nolan says the lower numbers mean that the flu vaccine is more effective this year. According to Nolan, “If you have a really bad flu year the following year is typically not so bad. We think people have residual immunity to the previous year.”

Still, Nolan says everyone eligible to get the vaccine should do so, “The only thing of proven benefit is the flu vaccine and we would encourage everyone to be vaccinated.”

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