Arizona Sees First Flu Patient Of The Season

October 08, 2013

The first patient of Arizona’s flu season has been diagnosed. State and county health officials have confirmed it was an unvaccinated child with influenza type B who was not hospitalized.

It is impossible to know what shape this flu season will take. So, like every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone six months and older get a flu shot.

Dr. Bob England the director of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. He said the effectiveness of the vaccine greatly depends on how many people actually get it. If enough do, the virus has a hard time finding a host. That is called herd immunity, but England explained that many people still do not get flu shots, and numbers prove it.

"Every year in this community, just in Maricopa County, you can expect a couple of hundred or so people to die from flu and its complications," England said. "And thousands of people will be hospitalized every year."

That does not have to be. If 80 percent of the county’s schoolchildren were vaccinated, England said, it would decrease the county’s flu patients by 90 percent. However, typically less than half of the county’s school children do get immunized.

If you like this story, Donate Now!