Flu case numbers drop in Mississippi

Published: Jan. 3, 2023 at 7:39 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi is seeing a decrease in the number of flu cases for the first time in months.

There’s some good news and some bad news. The good news is case numbers for the flu are dropping. The bad news is that those caught in this new wave could experience harsher symptoms.

”It’s the worst flu that we’ve had in well over a decade, both in its severity and the number of cases we’ve had,” said Dr. Stephen Threlkeld, director of infectious disease at Baptist Medical Health Care.

Weeks of packed doctors’ offices for cases of the flu are finally coming to an end.

“Our busy time is usually right after Thanksgiving, and we probably see anywhere from 20 to 30 positives that actually picked up,” said Jeremy Hudson, a family nurse practitioner with Trustcare. “That’s not counting the flu-like symptoms that were probably just too early to test positive. Now we’re probably seeing eight to 10.”

According to the Mississippi Department of Health, back on Nov. 26th, there were over 13,000 flu cases. By Christmas, that number dropped to over 9,000.

But even with cases going down, that doesn’t mean this next wave won’t pose a threat.

“The symptoms we’re seeing now with the recent wave of flu are more severe. We’re seeing a lot higher fevers, the fevers lasting for several more days. A lot of people have been having coughs more with this and more respiratory symptoms, and the coughs have been lingering for, you know, two to three weeks at times,” said Dr. Threlkeld.

Along with more severe symptoms, infectious disease specialist Dr. Stephen Threlkeld says secondary infections are where folks need to be cautious.

“It’s always been frequent with flu that you get follow-up infections,” Dr. Threlkeld said. “Staph infections, pneumococcal pneumonia is on top of the flu and that, a lot of times, is what takes a lot of lives during a flu epidemic.”

So before children head back to the classroom and parents go back to the office, medical professionals say vaccinations are the answer.

“If you got the flu in November or even December, it’s still very important to get the flu vaccine because the flu vaccine has four components of virus in it. And if you got the flu with one of those four, there’s no reason that another one of them can’t sweep through your community in January, February,“ said Dr. Threlkeld.

Flu season typically ends between March and April, so it’s important to get vaccinated and be cautious until that time.

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