Flu outbreak adding to shortage of IV bags

IV bags helps re-hydrate flu victims. But because of the flu and other factors, there's a shortage of those bags.

Posted: Jan 11, 2018 7:17 PM
Updated: Jan 11, 2018 7:20 PM

EDITOR'S NOTE: Everyone is talking about the flu. It's gotten so bad in Alabama that Governor Kay Ivey has issued a state public health emergency. And the flu seems to have affected many people not just in Alabama, but in Mississippi and across the nation. WTVA’s Mike Russell looked into the scope of this season's flu outbreak, and filed this report.

TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - There’s no question the the flu is having an impact on the country this winter. The strength of the outbreak is reflected by the number of stories we’ve done about it so far this season. In the latest flu map, the Centers for Disease Control says that all but four states are experiencing widespread flu activity. And even those four are impacted.


Across the city, more people than normal have gotten the flu. It kills as many as 56,000 Americans every year, and it puts hundreds of thousands in the hospital.

And speaking of the hospital. Across the nation, including Tupelo, there's a shortage of saline and other solutions that are used to re-hydrate flu victims. The main supplier for North Mississippi Medical Center is in Puerto Rico. That supplier was short on inventory to begin with. Then Hurricane Maria hit late last September, destroying production lines. And now, a larger than normal demand, thanks to the flu. Tina Stevens is the Clinical Resource Manager for the hospital. It's her job to make sure there are enough IV bags to go around.

"This area has been hit hard by the flu," she says. "Typically, we do see dehydration in our flu patients -- and that must be treated with the sterile IV solutions."

"We are seeing volumes than normal with influenza, says Dr. Malinda Prewitt, who works in Infectious Diseases for the North Mississippi Medical Center. "We are also seeing family members who have it, staff who have it, and we've had higher than normal mortality rates this year."

At Tupelo Schools, assistant superintendent Kim Britton says school attendance was down on Wednesday 4% to 91%, thanks to the flu. She urges parents to keep children home if they show any signs of the sickness.

So the flu outbreak is strong and seems to be having far-reaching effects. Ultimately, of course, it will let up and we’ll all move on. In the meantime, doctors say, it’s still not too late to get a flu vaccination.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 113876

Reported Deaths: 3238
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7894177
DeSoto693279
Harrison512983
Jackson450384
Rankin389486
Madison381293
Lee351479
Forrest300778
Jones289184
Washington256499
Lafayette248343
Lauderdale2437134
Lamar224238
Oktibbeha200854
Bolivar200477
Neshoba1842111
Lowndes178362
Panola169139
Leflore165887
Sunflower160949
Warren154355
Monroe148172
Pontotoc146119
Marshall141229
Lincoln138957
Pike138256
Copiah136936
Coahoma124936
Scott124929
Yazoo121733
Grenada121638
Simpson121249
Union117425
Tate116039
Leake114640
Holmes114460
Pearl River112959
Itawamba112225
Adams107343
Prentiss104819
Wayne100821
Alcorn98712
George97918
Covington97026
Marion94642
Tippah88922
Newton85627
Chickasaw84026
Tallahatchie84025
Winston83321
Hancock81628
Tishomingo80041
Attala79026
Clarke74351
Clay68421
Jasper67917
Walthall63827
Calhoun62212
Noxubee59617
Smith59116
Montgomery54323
Claiborne53716
Tunica52917
Yalobusha52614
Lawrence51214
Perry48723
Carroll48012
Greene47318
Stone46414
Humphreys42816
Amite42113
Quitman4196
Jefferson Davis40511
Webster37013
Wilkinson33720
Benton3335
Kemper32215
Sharkey28314
Jefferson27510
Franklin2403
Choctaw2056
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 155915

Reported Deaths: 2674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22988375
Mobile16788315
Tuscaloosa10235140
Montgomery9978197
Madison922894
Shelby727463
Baldwin661569
Lee651765
Marshall437249
Calhoun422461
Etowah421450
Morgan407135
Houston371734
DeKalb336029
Elmore317353
St. Clair289142
Limestone279730
Walker275593
Talladega263635
Cullman239925
Lauderdale218042
Jackson212515
Franklin203231
Autauga203030
Colbert198731
Russell19283
Blount191125
Dallas186327
Chilton185832
Coffee173211
Escambia172230
Covington171429
Dale166551
Chambers134343
Clarke133617
Pike132713
Tallapoosa131387
Marion107129
Barbour10129
Butler100240
Marengo100222
Winston91913
Geneva8617
Lawrence83732
Pickens83618
Bibb82514
Randolph82016
Hale75830
Clay73612
Washington73412
Cherokee73114
Lowndes70428
Monroe64510
Henry6436
Bullock63917
Crenshaw60330
Perry5856
Fayette56913
Wilcox56412
Conecuh56013
Cleburne5518
Macon53020
Lamar4745
Sumter47221
Choctaw39012
Greene34216
Coosa2033
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