TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The flu is no joke this year. Statewide, the Arizona Department of Health reported so far, cases are up 888% compared to a typical flu season, and the season is nowhere near done.
Locally in Tucson, staff with one of the NextCare Urgent Care locations told Tucson News Now nearly one-third to half of their patients every day have tested positive for the flu. The latest numbers show Pima County has seen about 967 cases so far.
According to the Arizona Department of Health, a majority of those affected in Arizona are the elderly. In Tucson, NextCare Physician Assistant Christoper Cardwell said they're seeing it across all ages.
Cardwell explained one of the main reasons the flu has been so widespread this year is because of the flu shot itself. CBS News has reported it to be only 10% effective this year.
"There's a couple of different varieties of the flu vaccine. Depending on what one you got may have an impact on that. The vaccine itself is probably the number one reason why we've had such high numbers because this year is not a good match," Cardwell informed TNN.
Those affected by the flu this year may have also struggled with the nationwide Tamaflu shortage. Cardwell also told TNN many of the pharmacies they contact for prescriptions are out of it.
TNN is only aware of one known flu-related death in the state this season. That was in Maricopa County.