Report: Number of Arizona confirmed flu cases spikes compared to last year

Apr 4, 2016, 7:15 PM
(AP Photo/Guillermo Arias)...
(AP Photo/Guillermo Arias)
(AP Photo/Guillermo Arias)

PHOENIX — The number of confirmed flu cases in Arizona has increased 68 percent compared to the previous flu season, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services influenza summary report.

“Right now, we are seeing very high levels of flu in the state,” said Shane Brady, 29, an epidemiologist at the Arizona Department of Health Services. “We’re seeing almost 18,000 cases for this season, which is much more than previous seasons.”

The predominant strain is H1N1, but AH3B is also circulating at a high level, Brady said. H1N1 was commonly known as swine flu when it caused global pandemic during the 2009-2010 flu season. Back then it was a novel strain. Now, it is among the common flu viruses.

Symptoms of the H1N1 virus include fever, cough and sore throat. Young adults are especially at risk. Other flu viruses tend to cause more serious complications in children and adults 65 and older.

“We’re getting lab reports of people in the 19- to 49-year age group,” Brady said. “Thirty-two percent of those people are reported as having the flu.”

Vaccination rates are lowest in that age group, Brady said.

Flu hospitalizations and adult flu-related deaths are not reportable in Arizona but the Centers for Disease Control tracks serious complications across the country.

“This year the CDC had released that they received a lot of reports of severe outcomes, hospitalizations and death in young and middle-aged adults from H1N1,” said Brady.

Getting vaccinated every year is important because viruses change, he said. But many young adults do not get a flu shot.

“The flu usually doesn’t affect me but this year I’ve gotten sick a lot more,” said Stephanie Carrasco, 19, a student at ASU. “I haven’t gotten vaccinated this year.”

Bianca Oceguera, an ASU medical studies student, got her flu shot at a grocery store pharmacy.
And she takes other precautions. “I wash my hands and take care of myself,” said Oceguera. “There are a lot of people getting sick this year, not just my family but also my friends.”

“Even though flu is on the decline, it’s still at very high levels and it’s not too late to get vaccinated,” Brady said.

It takes two weeks for a person’s body to become immune to a virus after vaccination; however, it is the best available protection against the flu, according to Brady.

“Besides vaccination, it’s always important that you can take simple everyday measures, such as covering your cough, washing your hands, staying home when you’re sick,” Brady said.

Check to search vaccination centers in your area.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Arizona gubernatorial candidates, from left, Katie Hobbs and Kari Lake. (Getty Images Photos)...
Kevin Stone

Katie Hobbs, Kari Lake set to participate in town hall event next week

Katie Hobbs and Kari Lake won’t be debating anytime soon, but Arizona’s gubernatorial candidates are both scheduled to participate in a forum next week in Phoenix.
10 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Peixoto Coffee)...

Chandler-based Peixoto Coffee expands to new mixed-use development in Gilbert

Family-owned Peixoto Coffee opened Tuesday morning in Gilbert’s Epicenter at Agritopia near Ray and Higley roads.
10 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Rio Verde Fire District)...
Jim Cross

Prop 310 would create tax to help fund rural Arizona fire districts

Here are the pros and cons of Arizona's Prop 310, which would create a 0.1% statewide sales tax to help fund rural fire districts.
10 hours ago
(Facebook Photo)...

2 Arizona defense companies awarded contract worth nearly $1 billion

Two Arizona defense companies were awarded a nearly $1 billion cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for hypersonic missiles last week.
10 hours ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Kevin Stone

New Arizona law doubles duration of protective orders to 2 years

A new Arizona law that went into effect Saturday doubles the duration of protective orders from one year to two.
10 hours ago
Sponsored Content by Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.

Sponsored Articles

Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Report: Number of Arizona confirmed flu cases spikes compared to last year