With Flu Season Well Underway In Phoenix, The Worst Is Still To Come

By Andrew Bernier
Published: Tuesday, January 6, 2015 - 9:39am
Updated: Friday, July 10, 2015 - 11:55am
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It’s shaping up to be a rough flu season. The sounds of coughing and sneezing are starting to become commonplace in the Valley, but according to health officials, the worst is yet to come.

Initial tests of the flu vaccine were unable to account for mutations in the H3N2 virus strand, making a relative mismatch. This leaves a success rate of this years flu shot at only 56 percent, leaving many sick, flu-shot or not.

“It has reached epidemic proportions in Arizona,” said Dr. Priya Radhakrishnan of St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix.

She said they expect an increased number of patients through January and February  

“In our clinics we are seeing an increase in respiratory illnesses," Radhakrishnan said. "Some increase in the flu but not as much as other states. But we are bracing and anticipating that the illnesses will increase because if you look at the CDC map, it’s been moving west.”

The flu is often transmitted through sneezing and coughing from those infected, or touching objects like door handles and phones used by sick people. Radhakrishnan said if someone is experiencing fevers and body aches along with constant sneezing and coughing, they’re at high risk to transmit the flu and should stay home.