Health officials confirm Arizona's first flu case of seasonPosted: Updated:
PHOENIX – Health officials have confirmed Arizona's first flu case this season.
Arizona Department of Health Services and the Maricopa County Department of Public Health said the infected person is an unvaccinated child with influenza type B. The child wasn't hospitalized.
"We just don't know yet which strain will dominate this season or how bad it will be," said Dr. Bob England, director of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. "But we do know that the best way to protect ourselves and those around us is to get our flu vaccine."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older get the flu vaccine. This year a newly available vaccine will protect against four different flu viruses: two A strains (an H3N2 and H1N1 strain) and two B strains. Most available vaccines will only protect against three strains.
"Remember, getting your flu shot is as much about community protection as it is about personal protection," said Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. "There are people who can't get a flu shot. It's up to all of us to do the right thing. While we're protecting ourselves when we get the shot, we're also preventing the flu from spreading in our communities."
Arizona had more than 11,000 lab-confirmed flu cases last year and four children died from influenza, according to health officials. Maricopa County alone reported more than 5,600 lab-confirmed cases.
"These numbers represent only the tip of the iceberg," England said. "There are actually thousands more cases that never get reported to Public Health because they don't see a doctor or get diagnosed."
For more information about the flu and its symptoms or where to find a flu vaccine in Arizona, visit www.StopTheSpreadAZ.org.