Mississippi's influenze-like illness rate highest in nation

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Flu season is here, and  Mississippi's rate of flu cases are extremely high with many reports of outbreaks.
WDAM spoke with South Central Regional Medical Center's Chief Quality Officer about what you can do to stay well.

"It looks like we are well above the national average," Dr. Thomas Dobbs said.

This is the map the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released.

"If you look at the map you will see we are a bright red compared to the rest of the country," Dr. Dobbs said.

It shows Mississippi standing out above the entire nation. The CDC showed our state has the highest recorded influenza-like activity in the country. South Central Regional Medical Center Chief Quality Officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs pointed out the interactive map showed what has happened during the past couple of weeks, a major increase in reports and confirmed flu cases.

"Well, it's just that time of year. It does tend to spread to different states sometimes we are early and sometimes we lag a little bit,"  Dobbs said. "It's just one of those things, we are seeing a lot of flu cases."

Dobbs is also an Infectious Disease Consultant with the Mississippi State Department of Health, and he said it's critical you get the flu shot.

"The other thing is, if you're sick or think you might have the flu please call your doctor or your provider so they can test you and treat you," Dobbs said. "There is very good treatment for influenza. The data this year shows that most strands or all of them are susceptible to the anti viral medications we use. So, getting treatment is important."

Lastly, make sure you wash your hands. Dr. Dobbs said most cases of the flu are spread from hand contact.

Click here to see the interactive map and read more about the flu from the CDC.