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Fewer Arizonans have come down with flu this season than last

(AP File Photo)

PHOENIX — There have been fewer confirmed cases of the flu in Arizona during this season than last year, the state health department said, with 235 so far.

The Arizona Department of Health’s interactive flu dashboard showed, however, that was still above the five-year average.

Last year there were 389 lab-substantiated diagnoses by early November; the five-year average is 129 cases.

The most recent report said there were 62 lab-verified cases last week.

This same time last year there were 130 cases.

A weekly summary pointed out that the numbers “represent a small proportion of the true number of cases of influenza” because most people don’t go the doctor when they feel sick and “doctors should not be expected to run tests on all patients exhibiting flu-like symptoms.”

Last flu season was among the worst in Arizona history. At least 523 deaths in the state were related to the flu in the 2017-18 season.

Across the country, an estimated 80,000 died of influenza and its complications last winter. It was the disease’s highest death toll in at least four decades.

In recent years, flu-related deaths have ranged from about 12,000 to 56,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Flu season runs from the beginning of October through the winter.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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