Flu arrives in Mississippi

By Michaela Gibson Morris

Daily Journal

Just in time for Christmas vacation, the flu has officially arrived in Mississippi.

The state confirmed its first case – a child patient from Hinds County – on Thursday.

No specific information was released on the child because of privacy rules, but state health officials urged those at high risk for flu complications to get vaccinated.

“It's especially important for parents who have children at high risk to get them vaccinated against the flu,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Mills McNeil. “Young children have a higher hospitalization rate due to flu.”

Both adult and pediatric flu shots are available at all county health departments for Mississippians at high risk of developing complications from influenza.

Earlier this week, the state opened vaccination for direct patient caregivers through county health departments.

The flu vaccine is also in limited supply at some North Mississippi Medical Clinics for those recommended by CDC guidelines, said David Barber, chief operating officer for the clinic system.

The Mississippi flu season typically begins in December or early January and runs through March.

“Last year was early,” said Liz Sharlot, health department communications director.

Mississippi uses a sentinel physician network to monitor influenza activity although the system doesn't reflect every case of flu.

Contact Michaela Morris at 678-1599 or michaela.morris@djournal.com