JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) has confirmed Mississippi’s first pediatric influenza death for the 2013-2014 flu season.
The death was a child from North Mississippi with chronic underlying health conditions. This makes the 12 pediatric flu death reported in Mississippi since pediatric flu deaths became reportable during the 2007-2008 flu season.
The MSDH continues to receive reports of serious illnesses and deaths from flu in young and middle-aged adults, many of whom were previously healthy. The only strain identified in Mississippi this flu season has been the 2009 influenza A H1N1 strain, which has in past years primarily affected those under 65 years of age.
“This is another serious reminder that it is important for people of all ages to get the flu vaccination,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs. “Fortunately, this year’s flu vaccine includes coverage for the H1N1 strain that is currently circulating throughout the state.”
Seasonal flu vaccinations are recommended for anyone ages 6 months and older. Among children, vaccination is especially important for those younger than 5 years or any child with underlying medical conditions such as asthma or neurological or neurodevelopmental disorders. These children are at higher risk for serious complications if they become infected with influenza.