JACKSON, Miss. - The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports the first laboratory-confirmed influenza case of the 2011-2012 season. The presence of influenza in a sample from a patient in the Tate County area was documented at the MSDH Laboratory.
"This week is National Influenza Vaccination Week which, in conjunction with our first lab-confirmed case of the year, serves as a great reminder that its definitely time to get your flu shot," said State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier. "The flu shot takes one to two weeks to produce immunity, and although flu season usually peaks in January through March, it sometimes reaches high levels as early as December."
Flu activity is monitored through the Influenza-like Illness (ILI) Sentinel Surveillance System, made up of healthcare providers in Mississippi such as family practice clinics, student health centers, pediatricians, primary care physicians, and hospital emergency departments that report the percentage of patients with flu-like symptoms to a statewide database.
MSDH uses this information to determine the spread of influenza in the state. Healthcare providers also submit respiratory samples for influenza testing to the Mississippi Public Health Laboratory.
Children ages six months through 18 years can receive flu vaccinations for $10 through the Vaccines for Children program. Seasonal flu vaccinations for adults are $25 at county health departments. High-dosage vaccinations for those 65 and older are available for $50. Medicare Part B covers the cost of flu vaccination. Both Medicare and Medicaid recipients are asked to bring their cards with them to their county clinics.
While the flu shot is the best protection, basic infection control measures can also reduce the spread of flu. These measures include covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing, staying at home when you or your children are sick, and washing your hands frequently.
To locate a county health department clinic in your area or for more information on flu and pneumonia, visit the MSDH website at www.HealthyMS.com or www.FluWakeUp.com. You may reach us at: 1-866-HLTHY4U (1-866-458-4948).