FLU SEASON: Cases up more than 700 percent in Arizona

FLU SEASON: Cases up more than 700 percent in Arizona

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, the number of reported flu cases in the state is skyrocketing.

As of Saturday, Dec. 16, there have been 2,976 confirmed cases in Arizona. During the same time frame last season, there were only 347.

Pima has had 427 reported cases while Pinal has 243.

The ADHS said there has been one influenza-associated death, a child in a Maricopa County.

"The cases represent a small proportion of the true number of cases of influenza," the ADHS said in a news release. "Many people do not visit the doctor when ill and doctors should not be expected to run tests on all patients exhibiting influenza-like symptoms."

More bad news comes when one looks at which flu strain is going around.

According to ADHS, 91 percent of the cases in Arizona were caused by Influenza A.

Earlier this month, medical experts warned this year's flu vaccine is only about 10 percent effective against that strain.

Still, the vaccine can save lives.

Approximately 3-5 million severe influenza cases and 300,000 to 500,000 flu-related deaths are reported across the globe each year, according to the World Health Organization.

Click HERE to find a flu shot clinic near you.

Protecting Yourself

The CDC said you can take the following steps to protect yourself against the virus:

• Avoid close contact with sick people

• Wash your hands often with soap and water

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth after coming in contact with potentially contaminated surfaces

• Disinfect surfaces regularly

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