2nd pediatric flu death confirmed in Mississippi for 2023-2024 season
Published 10:47 am Thursday, January 11, 2024
The Mississippi State Department of Health has confirmed a second pediatric influenza death in the state for the 2023-2024 flu season.
A pediatric death is of an individual under the age of 18. MSDH does not provide details of the specific age, gender, or location. The patient in this case had not received a flu vaccine for the 2023-2024 season.
“We highly encourage people to get a flu shot. A vaccination won’t necessarily keep you from getting the flu, although it can reduce your risk of infection and is the best protection to keep you from a severe outcome,” said Interim State Epidemiologist Dr. Kathryn Taylor. “With a few months left in this season, we recommend everyone six months of age and older consider a flu and COVID-19 vaccination.”
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 for those 18 and under who are eligible for the Vaccines for Children program are available at County Health Departments. Insurance, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are also accepted for children’s flu shots. A list of all VFC providers can be found at www.msdh.ms.gov/vfc.
Adults who are underinsured or uninsured and who meet certain high-risk criteria qualify for an adult flu vaccination at MSDH county health department clinics. Flu shots for insured adults are widely available through private physicians, pharmacies, and retail centers.
While vaccination is the best protection against flu, there are other things you can do to reduce the spread of flu whether you are vaccinated or not. These measures include:
- Covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.
- Staying at home when you or your children are sick.
- Washing your hands frequently and keeping them away from your face.
Individual flu cases are not reported to MSDH. The agency monitors flu activity through the ILI System, made up of healthcare providers in Mississippi who report the percentage of patients with flu-like symptoms to a statewide database. Providers participating in the system also submit respiratory samples for flu testing to the MSDH Public Health Laboratory. State health officials use this information to determine the presence and spread of flu throughout the state.
For more information on the flu, visit www.msdh.ms.gov/flu.