Jan 16, 2024 - News

Arizona sees high level of flu activity, CDC says

Influenza activity levels
Data: CDC; Map: Axios Visuals

It's not in your head — this year's cold and flu season is taking its toll on the Valley.

What's happening: Cases of influenza, RSV and COVID-19 in Arizona have spiked in recent weeks, according to Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) data.

By the numbers: Reported flu cases are up 158% from the average of the past five virus seasons and RSV cases are up 136%, according to state tracking.

Reality check: During the heart of the COVID pandemic in 2020 and 2021, the spread of other respiratory illnesses drastically declined because of social distancing and mask-wearing, bringing down our five-year average.

  • Arizona flu cases are down 14% and RSV cases are down 33% compared with the same time last year, per ADHS.

What they're saying: "We are starting to see a pretty steep rise in influenza and this is usually when we see flu in Arizona … January or February. So this is not uncommon," Chandler family physician Andrew Carroll told the Arizona Republic. "We are seeing this other non-flu, non-COVID respiratory illness and I'm not sure what it is. It's kind of like a really bad cold."

Be smart: It's not too late to get a flu or COVID vaccine to protect yourself against serious illness and complications.

  • RSV vaccines for adults ages 60 and older, and pregnant people, are available for the first time. The latter passes antibodies to a fetus during the third trimester.
  • Plus: Every household in the U.S. can order eight free at-home COVID tests from the federal government.
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