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Swine flu count nears 900

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports the latest number of confirmed cases of Novel H1N1 (swine) flu at 898 in Mississippi with seven deaths, the most recent a Jones County adult female.

Previous deaths were a male child in Jackson County reported July 25; a female child in Hancock County reported Aug. 29; an adult female in Washington County reported Sept. 5; an adult female in Hancock County reported Sept. 12; and, an adult female in Tippah County and an adult female in Jones County, both reported Sept. 19.

Nationwide and in Mississippi, swine flu deaths remain comparable to those from seasonal flu. Also, both seasonal and swine flu remain similar in most symptoms and in duration and severity of illness.

MSDH expects swine flu vaccine to be available locally by mid-October; it will be provided at all county health departments, participating private physicians’ offices, community health centers, some pharmacies and other clinics that will target priority groups for the swine flu vaccine. MSDH is working with schools regarding vaccine administration and will work with Head Start programs, day care centers, colleges and universities throughout the state to ensure the availability of vaccine for all students. Priority groups for vaccination include those from six months to 24 years of age, pregnant women, caregivers of infants six months old and younger, those 25-64 years old with chronic heart, lung (including asthma), kidney and liver problems and those who are immunosuppressed, as well as healthcare and emergency service providers.

The swine flu vaccine will be available free of charge at all county health departments.

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