Flu numbers across Pinal County are at "historically high" levels, with eight flu-related deaths and more than 1,000 cases reported this season, officials say.
County spokesman Joe Pyritz said the deaths, reported as of Wednesday, are concentrated in members of the public over 50 years old.
According to Pyritz, approximately 25% of the reported cases have been hospitalized and multiple additional deaths have been identified. The Department of Health Services in December said the flu had become widespread across our state, and one child had died so far this season.
As of January 6, the DHS has seen 11,515 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza across the state this season, 2,455 cases being confirmed in the last week alone.
See statewide flu activity detailed below.
"We have never seen this much flu activity this early in the season," said Graham Briggs, Manager for Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology.
Despite reports on decreased efficacy of this season's flu vaccine, Pinal County officials are still recommending residents get one as the best way to prevent getting sick.
Pyritz said other precautions include washing your hands, covering coughs, staying home when you're sick, and avoid touching your face.
Anyone who wants more information or to set up an appointment at the Health Department for vaccine can call 520-866-6300 in Pinal County.