Mississippi reports deaths in adults unvaccinated against the flu

The Mississippi State Department of Health said on Jan. 9 that influenza has caused a number of deaths in adults who were not vaccinated against the virus.

"All of the adult deaths that our clinical partners have reported to us have been 20-55 years of age," Thomas Dobbs, MSDH State Epidemiologist, said. "This year, the only flu strain that has been identified in Mississippi is the 2009 influenza A H1N1 strain. This year's flu vaccination includes coverage for this particular strain, which makes it that much more important to stay protected."

MSDH tracks flu activity with the Influenza-Like Illness Sentinel Surveillance System, which is made of healthcare providers in the state. Family practice clinics, student health centers, pediatricians, primary care physicians and hospital emergency departments report the percentage of patients who present with flu-like symptoms to the statewide database.

MSDH said Mississippi's flu season typically peaks in January through March. Dobbs said it is not too late to receive a flu vaccination, which are recommended for anyone older than six months of age. Vaccinations are available at county health department clinics.

The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 2,622 people have been hospitalized for influenza since Oct. 1. People ages 18 to 64 make up 61.6 percent of those cases.