State health officials report higher than average flu activity in Arizona
There have been about 12,300 cases reported in the state since October
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Across the country, hospitalizations for the flu are the highest we’ve seen at this time of year in a decade, according to CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. While doctors say this year’s flu shot is a good match to circulating strains, fewer people seem to be getting it.
In Arizona, state health officials say flu cases are higher than normal and above the five-year seasonal average. Since flu season began in October, the Arizona Department of Health Services says there are been about 7,900 cases reported in our state. Dr. Eugene Livar, the assistant director for public health preparedness for ADHS, says it comes as other viruses are circulating in Arizona.
“What we’re seeing right now is just a respiratory virus surge in the state of Arizona. We originally saw some high case numbers and increases with RSV,” Dr. Livar said. “Those are starting to level off. But some of the other viruses we’re monitoring are increasing with COVID-19 and also the flu. So we’re seeing a little bit of a transition for this respiratory season happening right now.”
Influenza was the 11th leading cause of death in Arizona in 2019 and Dr. Livar say it’s not too late to get your flu shot. They recommend it for anyone who is eligible, in particular those who are at high risk, and the shots can prevent severe illness and hospitalizations. The flu shot takes about two weeks to fully kick in, meaning if you get it this week, you’ll have that protection in time for Christmas.
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