MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - While health officials around the world are on high alert working to learn more about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, a deadly virus with two confirmed cases in the United States, local health officials say residents should be concerned about influenza.
"Everybody was asking me about Coronavirus, and I’m like how about Influenza virus, that’s what we really should be concerned about,” said Dr. J.O. Patterson, a physician with Methodist Healthcare.
Dr. Patterson says often times the seriousness of the flu is downplayed.
"There are going to be many more deaths from influenza this year from the influenza virus than from the Coronavirus,” Dr. Patterson said.
This flu season there have been 6 pediatric deaths in the state of Tennessee, and the Mid-South has been hit particularly hard by the virus.
According to the Tennessee Department of Health Shelby County has had the highest number of influenza-like illnesses in the state this season.
In Hardeman County school officials announced schools would be closed for two days because of illness.
Dr. Patterson says any signs of the flu should be taken seriously.
"Some people describe it like they've just been beaten up by a professional prize fighter,” Dr. Patterson said.
Other symptoms include fever, chills, shaking, weakness and a scratchy throat.
If you experience flu-like symptoms Dr. Patterson recommends seeing a physician immediately.
"If your big problem is a high fever and shaking chills, you're drenching your shirt and you feel achy all over try to get to me as soon as possible."
Meanwhile the Coronavirus has killed at least 17 people and caused more than 500 illnesses.