FORREST COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Forrest County Coroner Butch Benedict confirmed a 2-year-old girl died at Forrest General Hospital over the weekend due to complications from the flu. Benedict said the child is from Sumrall.
Benedict said the girl, who was not identified, was diagnosed with the flu strain B on Friday afternoon. She died Sunday morning from complications related to the flu, including pneumonia, Benedict said.
The coroner said he did not know if the girl had gotten a flu shot.
This is the first report of a pediatric death due to complications of the flu in Mississippi this season, but medical experts say the 2017-2018 flu season could be the most severe in years.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there have been 30 reported pediatric deaths linked to the flu so far in the 2017-2018 season. The report was issued on January 13, 2018.
From that week, the CDC reports four pediatric deaths linked to the influenza virus strain A and three associated with strain B.
Flu shots are recommended for all those six months and older. The Mississippi Department of Health reports the type of flu virus that is primarily causing illness in the state and nationwide is the H3N2 flu strain, which especially affects individuals over 65 years of age and young children, increasing their risk of complications and hospitalization.
Other prevention methods include staying home when you are sick or keeping kids home from school when they are sick, covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and practicing healthy handwashing practices.
In Mississippi, only pediatric flu deaths are reported to MSDH.
Here are some more tips from the CDC on how to protect yourself from the flu, how to recognize symptoms and how to prevent the spread of flu if you come down with the sickness.