Arizona flu cases flare up, largely affecting children, health report says

Posted at 5:28 AM, Dec 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-28 08:33:05-05

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Health Services released new numbers that show the flu is flaring up and is now above the five-year average.

So far this season, 1,995 influenza cases have been reported to ADHS.

During the week of December 23rd, there were 808 cases, compared to 788 cases for the five-year average for the same week.

The 2016 - 2017 flu season claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people. Five of those were children.

Children between 5 and 18 years old is the group the department reports to be most affected by the virus at 33 percent of all cases this season. That is also 1 percent higher than the five-year average.

ABC15 spoke with a doctor at Cardon Children's Medical Center back in October. Dr. Blake Sherman urged parents to get their children the flu shot as quickly as possible.

"If you have to the emergency department here to see us with a child with flu, you're waiting in long lines, you're exposed to other kids in the waiting room with flu-like systems and you're exposed, you know, expensive tests and all that to make sure you don't have other serious bacterial illness associated with flu," Dr. Sherman described.

As the department looks ahead to 2019, statistics show we can expect flu numbers to rise.

In January 2018, the state saw the highest flu numbers of the entire season.