Local flu numbers down despite state rise

YUMA, Ariz. – A Walgreens’ study has recently ranked Arizona as the state with the most flu activity in the country.

However, the Yuma County Health Department has 35 reported cases of the flu this year, a big drop from the 200 cases same time last year. Imperial County had 35 fewer cases than the 2014-2015 season which reported 1,152 cases.

“The flu season runs from October till the end of May and we’re in a peak right now. So we may be seeing more lab cases,” Public Health Nurse Rachael Baker said.

Even with cases down, health officials say they still have time to see an increase.

“The flu is not predictable. We don’t know what virus is going to be circulating and how aggressive it’s going to be. So there’s a reason they recommend the vaccine every year,” Yuma County Health Department Epidemiologist Benito Lopez said.

Lopez says the vaccine they have this year helps fight the Influenza A virus, which he says is predominant in cases of the flu this season.

“The effectiveness of the vaccine varies and sometimes it can give you a protection of 50-60%,” Lopez said.

Whether, young or old health officials say the vaccine can help you.

“This year we do know that it’s a very good match. So we are still strongly recommending for individuals to get their influenza vaccine,” Baker said.

About The Author

Denelle Confair graduated with her Bachelors from Arizona State University Walter Cronkite School of Broadcast and Mass Communication. She got her first on air reporter job for the NBC affiliate in Montana. After her time there she reported for the NBC affiliate in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. In Texas she covered multiple stories on the Gulf Cartel and immigration. Now she says she's glad to be back in her home state of Arizona. In her free time she enjoys hiking and writing. For story ideas you can email her at denelle.confair@kswt.com or find her on Facebook.

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