BATESVILLE, MS (WMC-TV) - Even though doctors say the official start of flu season isn't until next month, emergency rooms and clinics in north Mississippi are beginning to fill up with flu patients.
In north Mississippi there have been plenty of confirmed Swine Flu cases, and health experts like Mississippi District Health Officer Alfio Rausa say its something that is a first for them.
"This is a new virus, a new combination to be circulated and never seen before, at least not that we know of," Rausa said.
Rausa is the state health officer for two districts in Northeast Mississippi, which covers 18 counties. He says what makes this particular strain different from others is where and how it started.
"It started in the United States with an outbreak in May, in Mexico City, and then the southwest part of the US, and we've had many more cases than Mexico had," he said.
Rausa said that Mississippi has seen 700 confirmed cases statewide, but only two deaths since it first began in May- far before the seasonal flu season usually starts.
"Now, 97 percent of the latest samples coming in turn out to be the Swine Flu, so the Swine Flu virus has displaced the seasonal flu," he said.
Rausa said the best way to avoid getting sick is to wash your hands with warm water and soap several times a day, and if you are sick, stay home and keep away from others.