It's still flu season in Arizona, with 6x more cases than normal for June

12 News talked to a local doctor to see just how bad the flu is getting and why it's hanging on longer.

PHOENIX – It's still flu season in Arizona.

"The flu vaccine wasn't as effective this year,” said Natasha Bhuyan MD, a doctor with One Medical., adding that it may be one of the many reasons we are seeing a longer-lasting flu season in Arizona.

An alarming number of people are getting sick.

"We sometimes do see these spikes in the summer,” said Bhuyan.

There were 1,300 confirmed cases last month, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services, but the average for June is only 200.

So what's happening in our state?

The summer weather

"There is research that shows [the vaccine] does well in dry weather,” said Bhuyan.

Does that ring a bell? Humidity levels in the Valley have been mostly in the teens and single digits over the last month.

Behind closed doors

"[Someone sick ends] up going to work. They end up in their small and close quarters, and they make other people sick,” Bhuyan said, “and right now it's thriving in our dry and cold air-conditioned conditions."

Our version of winter.

"We had a little bit of a milder winter,” said Bhuyan. “A milder winter often leads to more prolonged and late on-set flu season."

Vaccine issues

And while the vaccine was less effective, fewer people got vaccinated in the first place

"The vaccination rate for flu … dipped,” she said. “It's close to only 40 percent for adults."

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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