Over the past few weeks, flu activity across the state has been decreasing. It’s not a break for the flu team though. Flu cases still occur and surveillance activities continue throughout the summer; however, activities are different in the non-peak activity (summer) and peak activity (winter) seasons.
During the summer, case investigations are performed on all flu cases reported to public health, something not always done during the height of winter flu seasons. Public health collects case information like travel history, disease severity and animal exposures to help detect abnormal flu activity and to check for the potential of novel flu strains (like the 2009 H1N1 pandemic strain) circulating in humans.
There are other variant flu viruses that we also keep a lookout for. Some of these naturally circulate and infect wild birds and pigs, but can infect humans too. For example, when people have direct contact with infected pigs at events such as agricultural fairs, they can become infected themselves. Monitoring for these novel and variant strains, like the ones that were recently detected in Minnesota and Wisconsin, will help keep Arizonans healthy this summer.