Health officials: Flu widespread in Arizona now - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Health officials: Flu widespread in Arizona now

Posted: Updated:
PHOENIX -

Arizona health officials say flu activity is widespread in the state this week with influenza reported in 14 of its 15 counties.

State Department of Health Services officials say about 1,000 of the nearly 2,200 flu cases were reported last week. Last year at this time we had only 26 cases.

Because many people aren't tested for the flu, officials say that number likely is just a fraction of the true number of cases.

There's also been an increase in hospital admissions for flu cases, especially in central Arizona. And doctors say the worst is yet to come.

"This is going to be and is already a worse year than usual for influenza," says Maricopa Medical Center Dr. Robert Fromm.

At Maricopa Medical, to protect other patients and staff, they're handing out masks to anyone who has the flu.

"They started earlier this year and there are many more now than are normally expected in an influenza epidemic."

Influenza is a serious viral illness with symptoms similar to the common cold, but it comes on quickly and is more physically draining.

Arizona typically sees most of its flu cases in February or March. Officials say influenza can be unpredictable and can peak either earlier or later in the season.

Hospitals on the east coast are being inundated with flu patients and some states are declaring public health emergencies. That's why Dr. Fromm says it couldn't be a better time to get a flu shot.

If you haven't had a flu shot yet, you still have time. So far, no deaths have been reported in Arizona this season.

Flu Shot Providers and Information
www.stopthespreadaz.org
www.azdhs.gov/flu

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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