The Main Stream

Dec 5, 2012 12:59 AM by Sean Mooney

First case of influenza in Pima County could be part of bad flu season

Tucson- With the first case of influenza now officially diagnosed, flu season has arrived in Pima County.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this flu season is the earliest in a decade and it could be the worst we have experienced in years.

State wide, 70 cases of the flu have been reported. The first documented case of influenza in Pima County involved a boy who was hospitalized at the University of Arizona Medical Center on Thanksgiving day. He survived, but children are considered high risk because of the dangers of dehydration.

Pediatrician, George Hobeich, says the younger the child the more at risk they are, "It is very important that kids 6 months and up get vaccinated against the flu", he said, "the earlier they get vaccinated the better it is."

While older people are also considered high risk, according to Hobeich, contracting the flu, no matter what the age, could become a life threatening situation,"You don't know how the immune system is going to behave at the time when they are exposed to the flu", he said, "everybody is at risk. That's why we are recommending the vaccine for everybody,"

Arizona is still only reporting sporadic activity but the southern states have been hit hard by the virus. H3N2 is a particularly nasty strain that has come with it. The good news is this year's vaccine is being called an excellent match to battle this flu and according to the centers for disease control there is plenty to go around.

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