Contact: Jeanene Fowler, Public Health: 602-722-1806 (cell)
Laura Oxley, Arizona Department of Health Services: 602-542-1094
Flu Season 2012 Begins in Arizona
Maricopa County Confirms its First Case of the Season
PHOENIX (Nov. 2, 2012) - The Arizona Department of Health Services and the Maricopa County Department of Public Health confirmed this week the first flu case of the season; an unvaccinated woman in her late 50's whom was never hospitalized.
"And now the obvious questions, 'How bad will this season be? Will the vaccine be protective against the strain of flu circulating?' and the all important 'Should I get my flu shot?'" said Dr. Bob England, director of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. "We just don't know yet which strain will dominate this season or how bad it will be. But we do know that the best way to protect ourselves and those around us is to get our flu vaccine."
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 H1N1 virus and an influenz0a B virus.
"Remember, getting your flu shot is as much about community protection as it is about personal protection," said Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. "There are people who can't get a flu shot. It's up to all of us to do the right thing. While we're protecting ourselves when we get the shot, we're also preventing the flu from spreading to our communities."
Last year Arizona had 4,000 flu cases and one person younger than 19 died from influenza. The numbers of people 19 and over who die from influenza are not individually reported to the state.
Preparation 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.
For more information about the flu and its symptoms or where to find a flu vaccine in Arizona, please visit StopTheSpreadAZ.org.
Follow Maricopa County Public Health: Facebook.com/MCDPH or Twitter.com/MaricopaHealth.