WJTV News Channel 12 - Child Dies in First MS Pediatric Flu Death of the Season

Mississippi health officials say flu shots are reccomended for every child age six-months and older.

Child Dies in First MS Pediatric Flu Death of the Season

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Mississippi health officials say flu shots are reccomended for every child age six-months and older. Mississippi health officials say flu shots are reccomended for every child age six-months and older.
Dr. Paul Byers is the deputy state epidemiologist. He's says it's too early to predict how bad of a flu year it is for MS. Dr. Paul Byers is the deputy state epidemiologist. He's says it's too early to predict how bad of a flu year it is for MS.
It's an update to a story we first brought you Monday night on News Channel 12.

A Mississippi child is dead from the flu and state health officials are sounding the alarm: an urgent plea to get your children vaccinated from the virus.

Mississippi health officials say flu shots are reccomended for every child age six-months and older.

At the Mississippi State Department of Health doctors are pressing that point after the first pediatric flu-death of the season.

Dr. Paul Byers, deputy state epidemiologist, said the agency tracks all flu-deaths especially those happening to children under the age of 18.

"This was a child in North Mississippi that did have some underlying complications, medical problems," Byers said.

He says those issues could include asthma, neurological problems, and immuno-deficiency.

Without a flu shot those problems are compounded when the illness strikes. That means there is an increased risk of death.

Since 2007. 12 pediatric flu deaths have happened in Mississippi, the state reports.

Their recommendation is that everyone get their flu shot especially as flu strains that cause complications in 40, 30, and 20-year-olds continue to spread.

"It's really too early in the season to tell if this is going to be a moderate or severe season based on what we've been seeing so far. What I can tell you is this: the illnesses that are being caused in mississippi are due to the H1N1," Byer said.

"It's the predominant strain and really it's the only strain we've seen in mississippi so far," Byer said.

10 states including Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama are listed by the Centers for Disease Control as having "widespread flu infection".

Mississippi is listed as having regional influenza spreading.

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