MSDH reporting first pediatric flu death for this season

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — The Mississippi State Department of Health is reporting its first confirmed pediatric influenza death for the 2016-2017 flu season.

The death occurred in Central Mississippi, MSDH said.

“We know, unfortunately, that influenza infections can lead to serious complications and in some cases, death, even for healthy children and young adults,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. “We are now in peak flu season, and it’s vitally important to get a flu shot if you haven’t done so already. All indicators suggest that the current flu vaccine is a good match for the flu strains in Mississippi.”

Including this reported death, there has been a total of 15 pediatric flu deaths reported in Mississippi since pediatric flu deaths became reportable in the 2007-2008 flu season.

Byers said the flu vaccine is the best way to prevent infection. For anyone six months of age and older, vaccination can reduce the risk of complications and death.

“It’s very important to stay home when you’re sick, so you don’t infect others. Also be sure to practice good hygiene such as covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and washing your hands frequently. Please contact your healthcare provider if you think you have the flu. Medications are available that can lessen the severity of illness,” said Byers.

Get more details about the flu vaccine from MSDH’s website.

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