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Mississippi Reports First Flu Case
Mississippians Urged to Gear up for Flu Season

From: Mississippi Dept. of Health         Filed 10/21/06 GCN

Friday, the Mississippi Department of Health (MDH) confirmed the state’s first influenza B case of the 2006 -2007 flu season in a Hinds County resident. Earlier this week, MDH’s pharmacy began delivering limited shipments of the flu vaccine to its county health department clinics throughout the state.

According to flu activity reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most of the southeast is reporting no flu activity at all. Florida reports sporadic flu activity, while Louisiana is reporting local flu activity. Mississippi public health officials encourage Mississippians to obtain a flu shot this year to protect themselves from the flu.

Mississippi county health department clinics will begin administering flu shots throughout the state on Monday, October 23. Health officials urge residents to call their local county health department to check for vaccine availability before heading to their local clinic. Residents may also obtain flu vaccinations from private providers and some retail pharmacies.

“We encourage all Mississippians to get their flu and pneumonia vaccination this October and November,” said State Health Officer Dr. Brian Amy. “We will administer all flu vaccine as we receive it to any Mississippian seeking to obtain it on a first come, first served basis.”

According to federal health officials, MDH will receive the entire supply of flu vaccine it has ordered.  

“Mississippi is experiencing the same situation as the rest of the nation: there is plenty of flu vaccine this year for everyone to get their flu shot, but flu vaccine distribution is taking place in phases,” said Joy Sennett, Director of Communicable Diseases with the Mississippi Department of Health.

There is sufficient adult or childhood flu vaccine supplies this year for all states. In fact, the CDC stated in a media telebriefing earlier this week that there is more vaccine available this year than in past years.

Residents seeking to obtain the flu vaccination at their county health department should bring their Medicare or Medicaid cards. Flu vaccinations cost $27 and pneumonia vaccinations are $40. Mississippians who have Medicaid or Medicare cards should bring them so that costs can be adjusted accordingly.

Mississippi’s flu season typically peaks in late December or early January and runs through March. Typical symptoms of the flu include fever and respiratory symptoms such as cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose; headache; muscle aches; and, often, extreme fatigue.

“The most dangerous complication of the flu is pneumonia,” said Dr. Amy. “The best way to protect yourself from the flu is to simply get a flu shot. We also want to encourage seniors and high-risk Mississippians to speak with their primary care provider about a pneumonia vaccination as well.”

The public is also reminded to follow basic infection control measures to help prevent the spread of the flu. Such measures include covering the mouth when coughing and sneezing, staying at home when you are sick, and frequent hand washing.

To locate a county health department clinic in your area or for more information on flu and pneumonia, the public can call 1-866-HLTHY4U (1-866-458-4948) or visit www.HealthyMS.com.

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