JACKSON — The Mississippi State Department of Health has reported the first confirmed cases of influenza in the state.
According to the MSDH Public Health Laboratory, all the confirmed cases are influenza A (2009 H1N1) and are covered by the current flu vaccine.
Health officials say although flu season usually peaks in January through March, it sometimes reaches high levels as early as December.
MSDH monitors flu activity through the Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) Sentinel Surveillance System, made up of health care providers in Mississippi including family practice clinics and hospital emergency departments. They report the percentage of patients with flu-like symptoms to a statewide database.
They also submit respiratory samples for flu testing to the MSDH. MSDH uses this information to determine the spread of flu in the state.