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Posted on: November 25, 2019

Influenza & E. coli

Health Alert

Two News Releases from the Arizona Department of Health Services:


ADHS Reports Influenza Cases are Three Times Higher in 2019 than Previous Season
With More Than Half the Cases Reported in Children, Health Officials Urge Public to Get Vaccinated

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) reported today that influenza cases in Arizona have tripled compared to previous seasons at this time with more than half of reported cases this season in infants, children, and adolescents. So far this flu season 950 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases have been reported compared to 290 cases for the same time period in 2018. All counties in Arizona have reported influenza cases.

“The best thing you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones is to get your flu vaccine now if you haven’t already,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory illness that can cause mild to severe illness and can lead to hospitalization or even death. With the holidays right around the corner and people attending gatherings with friends and family, getting a flu shot today can help stop the spread of the disease.”

There are many different options to obtain your flu shot. You can use FluFinder to find a vaccine provider near you. For questions regarding the 2019–2020 influenza vaccine, call your local county health department or the Arizona Immunization Program Office at (602) 364-3630. Influenza vaccine recommendations are available on the CDC’s website. For more information, visit azdhs.gov/flu.

Simple, everyday measures like washing your hands, covering your cough, and staying home when sick can help prevent spreading influenza and other illnesses. Stay up-to-date on influenza activity in Arizona throughout the season by viewing the weekly reports on the ADHS website, and subscribe at azhealth.gov/email to receive the influenza report via email.


ADHS Advises People to Throw Away Romaine Lettuce Associated with a Multi-State E. coli Outbreak
Retailers are advised to not sell any romaine lettuce harvested from the Salinas, CA growing region

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) is advising residents to not eat and dispose of romaine lettuce from the Salinas, CA growing region due to a multistate outbreak of E. coli. Consumers should dispose of all whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine, and packages of pre-cut lettuce and salad mixes that contain romaine, including baby romaine, spring mix, and Caesar salad if the packaging says “Salinas” on the label or if it is unlabeled. ADHS is advising retailers not to sell any romaine lettuce harvested from the Salinas, CA growing region.

E. coli can cause serious illness, so it is critical that everyone take precautions and not consume any romaine lettuce that may be associated with this multi-state outbreak,” said Dr. Cara Christ, ADHS director. “If you or someone from your family recently ate romaine lettuce and are experiencing symptoms, please seek medical treatment immediately.”

Symptoms of E. coli include diarrhea, which can sometimes be bloody, and abdominal pain. E. coli infection ranges from mild to severe, with symptoms lasting about five to seven days in most people. Young children, the elderly, and the immune-compromised are at risk of developing hemolytic uremic syndrome, a potentially life-threatening illness that can cause kidney failure.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating 40 cases of E. coli O157 from 16 states, including two cases in Arizona. There have been 28 hospitalizations reported and five people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome. The two cases in Arizona were hospitalized, with one patient developing hemolytic uremic syndrome. Both have recovered from the illness and have been released from the hospital.

ADHS is working with local health departments, the CDC, and the FDA to confirm the source of the E. coli O157 infections, to identify additional cases, and to prevent the spread of the disease. To prevent foodborne illness, ADHS advises everyone to thoroughly wash hands with soap and water prior to food preparation or consumption, and after using the toilet. Wash fruits and vegetables before eating or handling. Avoid cross-contamination of food during preparation by washing hands, cutting boards, utensils, and any food preparation surfaces. For more information on food safety and E. coli.

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