The number of flu deaths in Arkansas this season rose by one to seven last week.
The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) also reported the season’s first outbreak of flu in a nursing home this week in its influenza report.
Last week, Arkansas reported “Regional” activity to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for geographic spread of influenza, and “High” or 8 out of 10 for influenza-like illness intensity.
Since September 29, 2,400 positive influenza tests have been reported to the ADH online database by health care providers, with over 280 positive tests reported during the past week. Reported cases reflect only a portion of the actual numbers of flu cases in the state.
Among flu antigen tests this season that can distinguish between influenza A and B virus types, 57 percent were influenza A, and 43 percent were influenza B.
There were 101 positive PCR flu tests from private labs this week: 63 tested positive for influenza A, 38 tested positive for influenza B. At the ADH lab, 1 tested positive for influenza A subtype H1N1, and 3 tested positive for influenza B subtype Victoria; 2 samples tested negative for influenza last week.
About 3.2 percent of patients visiting emergency rooms this week were there for ILI (Syndromic Surveillance). About 3.5 percent of outpatient visits were for ILI (ILINet sentinel providers).
The average school absenteeism rate last week was 5.4 percent among public schools.
To date, seven influenza-related deaths have been reported in Arkansas this flu season -- up one from the previous week.
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.
The report provides information on flu activity in the state. It also compares influenza-like illness (ILI) in Arkansas to activity in the U.S.
The ADH receives reports of only a fraction of flu cases since it only requires reports of hospitalizations, deaths, and outbreaks. The information in the weekly update 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.
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