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First flu case confirmed in Maricopa County

PHOENIX -- Flu season is back in the Valley. The Arizona Department of Health Services said Monday that the first flu case of 2013 has been confirmed.

A child who was not vaccinated was diagnosed with influenza B. The child was not hospitalized.

Officials said the first diagnosis is a reminder for everyone, especially those susceptible to illness, to get a flu shot.

"We just don't know yet which strain will dominate this season or how bad it will be," Dr. Bob England, director of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, said in a press release. "But we do know that the best way to protect ourselves and those around us is to get our flu vaccine."

In 2012, Arizona labs confirmed more than 11,000 cases of the flu with more than 5,600 of those cases being in Maricopa County. Four children died of flu-related causes.

"These numbers represent only the tip of the iceberg. There are actually thousands more cases that never get reported to Public Health because they don't see a doctor or get diagnosed" said England.

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