Jackson, MS — The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports the latest number of confirmed cases of Novel H1N1 (swine) flu at 898 in Mississippi with seven deaths, the most recent of which was a Jones County adult female reported Monday. Previous deaths were a male child in Jackson County reported July 25; a female child in Hancock County reported August 29; an adult female in Washington County reported September 5; an adult female in Hancock County reported September 12; and an adult female in Tippah County and an adult female in Jones County, both reported September 19.
Nationwide and in Mississippi, swine flu deaths remain comparable to those from seasonal flu. Also, both seasonal and swine flu remain similar in most symptoms and in duration and severity of illness.
MSDH expects swine flu vaccine to be available locally by mid-October; it will be provided at all county health departments, participating private physicians’ offices, community health centers, some pharmacies, and other clinics that will target priority groups for the swine flu vaccine. MSDH is working with schools regarding vaccine administration and will work with Head Start programs, day care centers, colleges and universities throughout the state to ensure the availability of vaccine for all students. Priority groups for vaccination include those from six months to 24 years of age, pregnant women, caregivers of infants six months old and younger, those 25-64 years old with chronic heart, lung (including asthma), kidney and liver problems, and those who are immunosuppressed, as well as health care and emergency service providers.
The swine flu vaccine will be available free of charge at all county health departments.
According to State Epidemiologist Dr. Mary Currier, swine flu responds well to traditional anti-viral medications. Most people recover well without hospitalization.
Basic prevention methods include washing your hands frequently or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, coughing or sneezing into your sleeve, or coughing into a tissue followed by hand washing, and avoiding close contact with those who are sick. If you are ill, stay home until you are well, unless you need to see a doctor, in which case call first to prevent possible transmission in the doctor’s waiting area.
For more information on swine flu, visit the MSDH website at www.HealthyMS.com or call the toll-free MSDH flu hotline at 1-877-222-9FLU. The hotline hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except state holidays. To receive updates on Twitter, visit the MSDH H1N1 swine flu page to sign up as a follower.p>