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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: 33591

Reported Deaths: 1204
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds269748
DeSoto181818
Madison138236
Jones117349
Harrison104014
Rankin103515
Neshoba102274
Lauderdale94281
Forrest93943
Scott79215
Jackson72717
Washington64310
Copiah63115
Leake61320
Lee58621
Holmes57341
Oktibbeha56828
Wayne55416
Warren55320
Yazoo5436
Grenada5357
Lowndes52613
Leflore52256
Lincoln50935
Lamar5027
Pike47020
Sunflower4528
Lafayette4374
Monroe43635
Covington4195
Panola3996
Bolivar38018
Attala37524
Simpson3733
Newton35710
Adams34019
Pontotoc3266
Tate32313
Marion31312
Claiborne29310
Chickasaw29219
Winston28711
Pearl River27632
Noxubee2758
Marshall2693
Jasper2676
Clay25511
Union23811
Smith23412
Walthall2267
Coahoma2156
Clarke21425
Lawrence1992
Yalobusha1938
Kemper18014
Carroll17311
Tallahatchie1664
Humphreys15910
Montgomery1493
Calhoun1475
Tippah14411
Itawamba1418
Hancock13813
Webster12811
Tunica1193
Jefferson1173
Jefferson Davis1164
Prentiss1123
Greene10810
Amite1063
George1023
Wilkinson959
Tishomingo921
Quitman891
Alcorn852
Perry764
Choctaw754
Stone732
Franklin492
Benton420
Sharkey420
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 48588

Reported Deaths: 1042
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6030162
Mobile4418137
Montgomery4339109
Tuscaloosa254448
Madison19078
Marshall186611
Shelby150924
Lee149437
Morgan12205
Baldwin111410
Walker105127
Elmore98919
Dallas9639
Franklin92216
Etowah88214
DeKalb8416
Chambers65727
Russell6570
Autauga65313
Butler64328
Tallapoosa61669
Unassigned58626
Limestone5741
Houston5526
Cullman5395
Lauderdale5376
Lowndes48022
St. Clair4692
Colbert4656
Pike4595
Escambia4528
Calhoun4365
Coffee4074
Covington39911
Jackson3742
Bullock37010
Barbour3672
Dale3621
Talladega3497
Hale33722
Marengo33011
Wilcox2968
Clarke2946
Winston2893
Chilton2872
Sumter28512
Blount2731
Pickens2556
Monroe2492
Marion24514
Randolph2449
Conecuh2277
Perry2091
Bibb2081
Macon2069
Choctaw20212
Greene1928
Henry1433
Crenshaw1273
Washington1277
Lawrence1170
Cherokee1127
Geneva920
Lamar811
Fayette781
Clay742
Coosa621
Cleburne411
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