Department of Health Services official said the state has recorded more than 23,000 flu cases this season.
It will likely go down as one of the worst seasons on record said Jessica Rigler, the branch chief for public health preparedness for the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Rigler went on to say the the 461 people who have died so far is about 200 more than we see typically see in a flu season.
KTAR reports Rigler said the majority of the cases were experienced by two age groups.
“We’re seeing a lot of cases in individuals 65 years and older,” she said. “About 30 percent of our cases are in that age group. Another 25 percent or in are in kids, so 18 and younger.”
Rigler also said officials have noticed a recent rise in cases related to a different strain. Influenza A was contracted by patients earlier in the season, but influenza B cases have increased.
However, she was unsure if a second strain would lead to another wave of sick people.
Read more from KTAR
How long are you really contagious with the flu? Many people go back to work as soon as their symptoms start to resolve, which could be putting your co-workers at risk.
The CDC says you are contagious one day before you start feeling sick and up to seven days after. If you’re a kid, elderly, or have a weak immune system, you can be contagious for even longer.
Read a description of what is going on in your body when you have the flu in the story from National Public Radio
New Flu Information for 2017-2018 is compiled by the Centers for Disease Control:
A few things are new this season:
- The recommendation to not use the nasal spray flu vaccine (LAIV) was renewed for the 2017-2018 season. Only injectable flu shots are recommended for use again this season.
- Flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses [the influenza A(H1N1) component was updated].
- Pregnant women may receive any licensed, recommended, and age-appropriate flu vaccine.
- A quadrivalent recombinant flu vaccine (“Flublok Quadrivalent” RIV) is newly available this season. (Last season, only trivalent recombinant flu vaccine was available.)
- A quadrivalent inactivated flu vaccine, “Afluria Quadrivalent,” was licensed last season after the annual recommendations were published.
- The age recommendation for “Flulaval Quadrivalent” has been changed from 3 years old and older to 6 months and older to be consistent with FDA-approved labeling.
- The trivalent formulation of Afluria is recommended for people 5 years and older (from 9 years and older) in order to match the Food and Drug Administration package insert.
- For the first time, a cell-grown H3N2 vaccine reference virus was used to produce the H3N2 component of the cell-based vaccine, Flucelvax. (The remaining Flucelvax vaccine components were manufactured using egg-grown reference viruses.)
For answers to more frequently asked questions, visit the CDC site
Employers who don’t offer paid sick leave are making flu season worse and hurting their own bottom line.
Multiple studies have shown that workers without access to paid sick days are more likely to go to work sick than those with it. That’s a problem not just for those workers, who are literally endangering their health for a day’s wage, but also for their fellow workers and commuters whom they expose to their illness.
Read how paid sick leave may pay for itself in The Washington Post