Six people have died influenza-related deaths in Arkansas this flu season, according to the Arkansas Department of Health’s weekly influenza report for clinicians.
The number is an increase of two from the previous week’s report.
The weekly report also compares influenza like-illness (ILI) in Arkansas to activity in the U.S. ADH receives reports of only a fraction of flu cases since it only requires reports of hospitalizations, deaths, and outbreaks.
Health officials note that the report is representative of the timing and location of activity, but it does not reflect the overall burden of disease. It is presumed that there are many more people actually affected than the report shows.
For Week 48, Arkansas reported “Local” activity to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for geographic spread of influenza, and “Moderate” or 7 out of 10 for ILI intensity.
Since September 29, 1,881 positive influenza tests have been reported to the ADH online database by health care providers, with over 200 positive tests reported last week.
Among flu antigen tests this season that can distinguish between influenza A and B virus types, 59 percent were influenza A, and 41 percent were influenza B.
There were 28 positive PCR flu tests from private labs this week: 13 tested positive for influenza A, 14 tested positive for influenza B and 1 tested positive for both A and B. At the ADH lab, 1 tested positive for influenza B subtype Victoria; no samples tested negative for influenza this week.
About 3.3 percent of patients visiting emergency rooms last week were there for ILI (syndromic surveillance). About 3.9 percent of outpatient visits were for ILI.
The average school absenteeism rate last week was 11.2 percent among public schools. Most major public schools were out last week for the holidays.
CDC has reported a total of 5 pediatric deaths nationwide this season.
To date, no nursing homes in Arkansas have reported influenza outbreaks.
Nationally, the proportion of deaths reported to the National Center for Health Statistics attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) was below the epidemic threshold last week.
For Week 47, the geographic spread of influenza was reported as widespread in 10 states and regional in 14 states; Puerto Rico and 19 states reported local activity; the U.S. Virgin Islands and 7 states reported sporadic activity; the District of Columbia and Guam did not report.
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