By WLOX Staff
JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - A Jackson County child has died from complications related to the H1N1 virus, becoming Mississippi's first swine flu fatality.
The Mississippi State Department of Health made the announcement Friday, but did not say when the child died, or how old the victim was. Officials did say the child had "multiple underlying conditions."
"The death of any child for any reason is tragic," said State Epidemiologist Dr. Mary Currier. "At this time, there have been 353 deaths attributed to Novel H1N1 (swine) flu throughout the country which is about the same death rate that we see with seasonal influenza. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year, on average, 36,000 Americans die from complications due to seasonal flu."
According to Dr. Currier, Novel H1N1 (swine) flu responds well to traditional anti-viral medications. The very young, the elderly, pregnant women and the chronically ill may be at higher risk for complications.
Prevention is the best method of protection, and Mississippians are encouraged to take the following precautions to reduce the risk of contracting Novel H1N1(swine) flu and other flu-like illnesses: wash your hands frequently or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, cough or sneeze into your sleeve, or cough into a tissue followed by hand-washing, and avoid 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.
With schools throughout Mississippi re-opening, health officials say it is especially important for parents, teachers and children to be mindful about hand washing, coughing and sneezing etiquette.
You can find more information on Novel H1N1 (swine) flu by visiting www.HealthyMS.com. The health department also has a 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.