Flu spreading weeks ahead of schedule in Maricopa County

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(Source: goodluz / 123RF Stock Photo) (Source: goodluz / 123RF Stock Photo)

Maricopa County is seeing an abnormal amount of flu cases for this time of year.

According to Maricopa County Public Health, there have been 150 laboratory-confirmed cases since flu season started on Oct 1. That's a 384 percent increased compared to this time last year when there were only 31 confirmed cases.

So far, there have been 981 visits to emergency rooms for people with flu-like symptoms, officials said. 

Statewide, there have been 250 confirmed cases from 13 counties, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. In just the last week, ADHS reported 82 confirmed cases, 70 more cases compared to last season.

Despite the uptick in cases, doctors said they aren't overly alarmed with the strong start.

"We may just be having several early cases but there's no indication that this flu season is going to be any worse than others until we get through it," said Dr. Dan Quan, an emergency physician.

The flu season in Australia was particularly bad so doctors said they wouldn't be surprised if that trend continued to the U.S.

Doctors said the flu isn't affecting one age group more than the other right now. 

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