2nd pediatric flu death reported in Mississippi

Staff Writer

The state of Mississippi’s second pediatric flu death in the 2016-2017 season was reported Tuesday by the state department of health.

The death, which took place in south Mississippi as flu season draws to a close. The first took place in central Mississippi in January, closer to the beginning of flu season. In total 16 pediatric flu deaths have been reported in Mississippi since the 2007-2008 flu season.

“While our typical peak flu season in Mississippi has now passed, flu can occur year-round, even during the warmer months,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. “We know, unfortunately, that influenza infections can lead to serious complications and in some cases, death, even for healthy children and young adults.”

Byers added that vaccination was the best way to prevent infection.

Henderson Ward Stewart Elementary Nurse Mary Esther Elam said she saw many flu-like illnesses at HWS in February and March.

“We kind of had a large number of students with flu and strep going around,” Elam said.

Elam added that prevention tactics used in the school included making sure students washed their hands and coughed into their elbows, coordinating with custodians to keep often-touched surfaces clean and notifying parents if their child is running a fever.

Data for the current week showed a decrease in flu activity nationwide, with Mississippi’s activity designated as regional.

So far, 10 cases have been reported in Oktibbeha County since the week ending on Oct. 8 the second most in any Mississippi county. Nine cases have been reported in Lowndes County and none in Clay County. The county with the most cases is Lincoln at 14 confirmed flu cases.