First flu death prompts suggestion for earlier flu shots

Posted: Updated:
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX – Health officials in Maricopa County confirm that a child has become the first flu fatality of the season. The case is one of three flu cases reported this summer. Those other two cases involved adults.

Because a flu death is unusual this time of year, public-health officers are suggesting people consider getting their flu shots earlier than normal.

Although the flu is a year-round illness, flu season generally runs from October through late May, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In Arizona, the season usually is worst early in the year.

With three flu cases officially reported, the Maricopa County Department of Public Heath believes there are likely other cases that have gone unreported.

While the child’s death was confirmed Tuesday, no other details were being released due to patient privacy laws. Officials said only that the child lived in Maricopa County.

In general, doctors recommend everyone 6 months old and older get a yearly flu. They say that’s the best way to prevent the flu. The very young and the elderly are most at risk for complications from the flu. Health-care workers and those who work with children tend to be ones who are most exposed to the virus.

The vaccine for this year has already started coming out.

To find a flu shot clinic, call 602-324-2814 in the Phoenix metro area or 1-877-764-2670 statewide.