State health department reports first pediatric flu death of 2018-2019 season

State health department reports first pediatric flu death of 2018-2019 season
Officials with the Mississippi State Department of Health have confirmed the state’s first pediatric influenza death for the 2018-2019 flu season. (Source: MSDH)

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WDAM) - Officials with the Mississippi State Department of Health have confirmed the state’s first pediatric influenza death for the 2018-2019 flu season.

MSDH said a South Mississippi child with underlying health conditions died from complications with the flu.

According to the state health department, there have been 20 pediatric flu deaths reported in Mississippi since the 2008-2009 flu season. That’s when pediatric flu deaths first became reportable.

Pediatric deaths are defined as deaths of individuals under 18 years of age. So far this year, five pediatric flu deaths have been reported nationwide.

“We know that last year there were 183 influenza deaths in children, three of which were in Mississippi,” said MSDH Interim State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs. “Nationally, about 80 percent of the pediatric deaths were in children who were not vaccinated against the flu.”

Mississippi’s first laboratory-confirmed case of flu for this season was reported Tuesday.

Flu season in Mississippi peaks in January through March, but state health officials say now is the time for the entire family to get their flu shots.

To locate a county health department clinic in your area or for more information on flu, visit the MSDH website at HealthyMS.com/flu.

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