Arizona’s flu cases more than doubled in the last week, according to the state Department of Health Services.
There have been 149 confirmed cases of the flu since the flu “season” began Sept. 30. The week prior, there were only 70 cases, year-to-date.
The first Arizona case was reported on Oct. 30, several weeks earlier than last year. At this time last year, there was only one confirmed case of influenza. All together, the state saw 4,005 confirmed and reported cases of the flu during the 2011-2012 season, which typically starts in late October or early November.
Nationwide, there have been so many reported flu cases already this year that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention held a press conference Monday reminding people to get vaccinated.
“Significant increases in flu activity in the U.S. in the last two weeks indicate that an early flu season is underway,” the CDC reports on its website.
Flu cases have been confirmed in 48 states and the District of Columbia, according to the CDC’s weekly influenza report. Arizona tends to fall a little behind other parts of the country in terms of when the flu peak hits. Last year, the highest number of influenza cases in Arizona were reported the first part of February.
This year’s flu vaccine appears to be a good match for the types of flu that are circulating, health officials said. Nationwide, there have been a high number of H3N2 cases, the CDC reports. Arizona is seeing more influenza B. Both are contained in this year’s flu vaccine, which covers three types of the illness.
Influenza is a respiratory disease. Not everyone who gets sick with the flu visits the doctor, so the number of cases reported may just be a sample of what’s actually circulating in the state, health officials said.
The vaccine is recommended for everyone over 6 months of age.
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