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Arizona flu cases ramp up in the new year, still time to get vaccinated

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PHOENIX — Flu season is starting to ramp up in the state, according to Arizona Department of Health Services data.

The agency’s website shows that the highest number of flu cases reported in a week occurred last week at 1,196, up from the previous week’s 831.

“The influenza season this year in Arizona was off to a slower start than we’ve seen in the past, however, we are seeing an increase in cases now,” Jessica Rigler, the agency’s assistant director of public health preparedness, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday.

There have been 3,216 reported cases of the flu in the state so far this season.

Around this time last year, there had been 11,515 total cases reported, which Rigler said was abnormally high.

“We have many fewer cases this season compared to last season, but we’re tracking about normal when we look at our five-year average across seasons,” she said.

Although the flu season often peaks in January, she said, it’s possible for peaks to show up as late as February or March, and cases can pop up as late as June.

“If you’ve not been vaccinated yet, there’s still time to go out and get your shot. That’s going to be the best protection for you and your family so you don’t get sick this season,” she said.

Rigler said it’s important for people to wash their hands before eating or touching their faces, cover coughing with sleeves and elbows and stay home from work if they’re feeling sick.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ashley Flood contributed to this report. 

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