Be aware: Child dies from influenza virus

Published 7:01 am Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Mississippi Department of Heath urges people to get flu shot.  Photo by Alexandra Hedrick

The Mississippi Department of Heath urges people to get flu shot.
Photo by Alexandra Hedrick

The Mississippi Department of Health reported the first confirmed pediatric death due to influenza for the 2013-2014 flu season.


Liz Sharlot, ommunications director for the State Department of Health, said the child was from North Mississippi and had a chronic, underlying health condition.

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Details on the child and the case are not available due to privacy laws, Sharlot said. The health department said pediatric deaths are defined as deaths of individuals 18 years old and younger.


Sharlot said compared to this time last year, there has not been an increase in cases, but that those being affected most this year are people between 20 and 65 years old. She said usually those being affected are “the very young and very old.” It is the same age group that was being most affected by the H1NI influenza strain in 2009.


“H1NI strain is what we are seeing (this year), and it is covered in the vaccine,” Sharlot said.


She urges people eligible for the vaccine to get it as soon as possible because the vaccine takes time to build up immunity.


“If you do feel sick, stay home. If children are sick, keep them home,” Sharlot said.


She also said people should wash hands frequently, cover coughs and get a flu shot.


“Practice good hygiene and good nutrition and get the vaccine,” Sharlot said.


Flu vaccinations for adults and children are available for $30 at all county health department clinics and the high-dose flu vaccination for adults 65 and older is available for $55.


The pneumococcal vaccination is also available at county health departments for $83.


The seasonal flu vaccinations are recommended by the Mississippi Department of Health for anyone age six months and older. The department said among children, the vaccination is especially important for those younger than five years of age or any child with an underlying medical condition due to their higher risk for serious complications.


The Pearl River County Health Department is located on 7547 U.S. Highway 11 North in Carriere. The office can be reached at 601-798-612.