Paul Byers said, "Mississippi is seeing the impact of high levels of influenza this season with more than 100 reported flu outbreaks in nursing homes and other long-term care settings".
The flu is affecting people over 65 years of age the most and there have been 54 reported flu deaths in Canada this season, the FluWatch report said.
Sentara family medicine and internal medicine practices have the vaccines for $75 out of pocket, but individuals without insurance can get the shot for $37.50, according to Sentara spokeswoman Kelsea Smith. "When H3 [strains] are predominant, we tend to have a worse flu season with more hospitalizations and more deaths".
At the same time, Influenza B is "increasingly steadily", the report says, with 20 times more detections so far this season than for the same time period in the last seven years.
"Classic influenza is upper respiratory, so coughing, sore throat, runny nose, but we have also been seeing nausea and vomiting associated with those upper respiratory symptoms as well", she said. "The vaccine effectiveness is generally less for H3N2, than it is for when influenza is H1N1 or influenza B". CBS Chicago reported on a 10-year-old boy in the area who died New Year's Eve after the flu virus attacked his heart. "The season has started early, and it is probably peaking right about now", Jernigan added.
Officials made the decision to review the deaths "because this flu season is so impactful", McDowell said, and officials are trying to monitor the situation. "So we saw an nearly doubling in numbers just in the last week". Get an annual flu shot, cover coughs and sneezes with the crook of the arm, wash hands with warm soap and water, and stay home if sick.
Even though the flu vaccine is not a great match this year, doctors still highly recommend receiving the shot. "There's never a mild flu season, and this season is on the more severe side".
Officials with Audubon County Memorial Hospital and Clinics say that while no flu related deaths have occurred in Audubon County, flu cases are on the rise and are expected to peak in February or March.
Even if the vaccine is not as effective for the current strain of the flu, Echols said people should still get it as a precaution.