DHS: 2 deaths in Mississippi blamed on flu

Published 8:36 pm Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Two flu-related deaths have been reported in Mississippi and the state Department of Health warns of increased reports of influenza activity statewide.

“We are now in the peak season for flu activity, and we encourage everyone — especially those in high-risk categories — who hasn’t had a flu vaccination to get one now,” State Health Officer Dr. Ed Thompson said in a Monday statement.

The health department said the two deaths — involving individuals age 18 and younger — had occurred in DeSoto and Madison counties. MDHS gave no other details about the two cases.

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The first confirmed case of the flu during the 2007-2008 season was reported in early November in the Forrest County area. Health officials said late last month that some 30 cases had been confirmed statewide.

Health officials are monitoring the flu through the Influenza-Like Illness System, made up of 53 health care providers in the state.

High risk categories include children from 6-months to 4 years, adults over 65 and individuals with chronic illness. Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, and often extreme fatigue. Sore throat, headache, muscle aches and a runny nose are also often present.