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Arizona officials report big uptick in flu cases over last year

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PHOENIX — Many more people have been sickened by the flu this season compared to the same time last year, Arizona officials said Monday.

“We’ve had 250 cases of flu reported so far this year across the state,” Jessica Rigler, chief of the Bureau of Epidemiology and Disease Control at the Arizona Department of Health Services, said.

“Usually, we see about 36 cases by this time.”

The flu season typically begins in October. Rigler said her department has received reports of about 70 or so cases per week this year.

However, she said she was not overly concerned about the jump in reported cases.

“I would say that we’re not yet at any kind of a spike or a peak, so there’s still time to go out and get your flu shot so you can protect yourself and your family,” she said.

Rigler’s department encouraged people earlier this year to get flu shots.

Most doctors’ offices, clinics and pharmacies offer the shot. Rigler said everyone above 6 months old needs one.

“They (children under 6 months) can’t be vaccinated,” she said in September. “If everyone else in the house is vaccinated, you’re making sure those babies are safe.”

Influenza is one of the world’s most common viral infections. It’s easily spread but can be treated with over-the-counter medications. It attacks mainly the nose, throat and lungs.

Symptoms include muscle aches, fever and fatigue.

KTAR News’ Jeremy Foster contributed to this report.

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