The flu is wreaking havoc on Arizona this year. More than 26,000 cases have, thus far, been reported from every corner of our state according to the latest numbers from Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). That’s up 21,000 cases from a year ago! And while the flu remains widespread in our state, it appears the numbers are finally dropping.
Flu cases in Arizona are finally showing signs of slowing down, with 649 confirmed cases in the week ending Feb. 24, according to the most recent report from the Arizona Department of Health Services.
The ADHS reported the figure was a 34 percent decrease from the 983 cases in the week ending Feb. 18. The ADHS reported there were 689 reported cases of the flu last year in the week of Feb. 18 to Feb. 24.
Cases of the flu have reached peak numbers this season earlier when compared with years in the past. It usually peaks by February, but this year, flu cases started peaking after Christmas and into January. The state saw more than 2,000 confirmed cases of flu in each of the first two weeks of January.
KJZZ.org quoted Jessica Rigler with the ADHS as saying, ” We’ve seen decreasing numbers week-over-week over the last several weeks now which makes us feel like at this time we are starting to finally see that decrease of influenza in Arizona.”
It looks like our state is following a national trend according to a recent AzFamily.com report.
Flu has been shown the door in the United States. Illness activity peaked and began to decline during the eighth week of the year, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly surveillance report indicated Friday. Just 5% of people who visited their doctors did so while complaining of flu-like illness, down from 6.4% the previous week.
“We have definitely peaked,” CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said, quickly adding, “that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to see more flu activity.”
KNAU.org in Flagstaff added more on why tracking “flu-like symptoms” can be important. “One gauge of flu activity is reports of “influenza-like illness” as a percentage of all medical visits to a particular set of medical facilities that gather this data. That figure dropped from 7.5 percent of all visits three weeks ago, to 5 percent last week. The baseline figure, in the absence of a flu outbreak, is 2.2 percent. The reports of influenza-like-illness also declined the previous week – a hopeful trend.
“We could have six more weeks of flu. Now, it could be shorter. We don’t know. It’s really hard to predict flu, but it could be a month and a half,” says Dr. Alicia Fry who works in the influenza division at the CDC.
Share your thoughts on whether you believe the flu is finally showing signs of slowing down in your neighborhood. And whether you think these new numbers show the worst is finally behind us. Generating dialogue around the health stories making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!