Flu Season Begins, But The Virus Is Studied All Year

By Stina Sieg
Published: Tuesday, November 11, 2014 - 3:29pm

Flu season officially arrived in Arizona last week, when the state’s first case of locally acquired influenza was diagnosed in Pima County. But health departments investigate flu cases year round to help get a better sense of the infectious virus. 

Flu season typically starts in the fall and tends to peak around January or February. But it’s during the off season that the state often learns the most about the disease.

Jessica Rigler is the Chief for the Bureau of Epidemiology and Disease Control. She said that in the spring and summer, when flu is less common, her department might have a chance to look at every case and see if any trends or new strains are hitting the state. That can help with strengthening old health messages.

Everybody knows "washing your hands is really the best prevention for most diseases," Rigler said. "But it never hurts to reiterate when it’s tagged onto 'We know something weird or new or is circulating right now, but you can wash your hands and prevent it.'"

You can can also help prevent it with a flu shot, she said. Last year, the virus struck more than 12,000 people in Arizona. 

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