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Flu running rampant in Mississippi

Flu season has arrived, and all signs point to a particularly harsh one this year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the flu is active in 46 states across the country and Mississippi is one of those, of course. But we already knew that judging by those missing work or school.

One expert said the early and robust start to the flu season has all the markings of “severe.” And, there is one more element that makes it challenging: this year’s vaccine isn’t working so well.

This year main flu strain, the influenza A virus, known as H3N2, could be worse than the swine flu in 2009, according to reports. A virus mutation means that this year’s flu shot may be less effective than normal (40 to 60 percent in a good year).

The good news is that reports suggest it does respond well to Tamiflu, the antiviral drug.

Since area schools just returned and Ole Miss isn’t yet back in full force with students, the Oxford community hasn’t yet seen its full flu punch this year. Already, though, cases are popping up quickly.

That necessitates the reminders: Wash your hands frequently and stay home if you have flu-like symptoms.