Influenza season officially arrived last week when our Arizona State Public Health Laboratory confirmed the 1st AZ-acquired influenza case for the 2014-2015 season. Although flu activity is monitored year-round in Arizona, the start of the season intensifies our statewide surveillance activities. Partners across the state (including local health departments, laboratories and healthcare providers) participate by reporting positive flu labs to ADHS, sending specimens to the state lab for typing, and monitoring the number of patients who go to outpatient clinics with flu-like illness. You can check this out in the weekly flu reports for Arizona and for the U.S.
The goals of flu surveillance at ADHS are simple: find out where influenza is circulating, what strains are circulating and which populations are most affected. Those are the key pieces of information that help us to design interventions to limit the health impact of the influenza virus. Don’t forget to get your influenza vaccination if you haven’t yet.