For more information, please contact:
Jeanene Fowler, Maricopa County Public Health: 602-722-1806
Laura Oxley, Arizona Department of Health Services: 602-542-1094
Flu Season Arrives Just in Time for the Holidays
Maricopa County Public Health Confirms its First Two Cases of the Season;
Urges Residents to Share Holiday Cheer, not Flu Germs
PHOENIX (Dec. 16, 2011) – Today, the Arizona Department of Health Services and the Maricopa County Department of Public Health confirmed the state’s first two flu cases this season; an unvaccinated woman in her early 70’s and a man in his late 30’s whose vaccination status is unknown. Both are recovering.
“These two cases are just the tip of the iceberg,” said Dr. Bob England, director of Maricopa County Department of Public Health. “We know that many people who are experiencing the flu right now will never be counted in our statewide flu numbers. These people are doing the right thing; staying home, drinking plenty of liquids and getting well without the need to see their healthcare provider.”
The state protocol for declaring the first flu case in Arizona is confirmation through the Arizona State Lab. As soon as the first case is confirmed, the state begins including all cases confirmed by a rapid test in a provider’s office as part of the overall state flu case total.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older get the flu vaccine. As always, this year’s flu vaccine protects against three different flu viruses; an H3N2 virus, an influenza B virus and an H1N1 virus.
“If you’ve been putting off getting your flu shot, it’s time to do it,” said Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “Take a few minutes in all your holiday shopping to give yourself a gift – a flu-free holiday season.”
Preparing for the flu season includes getting the flu vaccine and being vigilant in good hygiene -- covering our cough in our sleeves, washing our hands frequently and staying home when we are sick.
Last year Arizona had 9,837 flu cases and 5 pediatric deaths.
For more information about the flu in Arizona or where to get flu vaccine, please visit www.StopTheSpreadAZ.org.