Arkansas Department of Health: Spread of flu in state last week minimal

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) – Although coronavirus is in the headlines, it continues to be flu season, as well. Today, the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) released its flu report for week 12 of flu season.

According to the report, spead of influenza-like illness across Arkansas is minimal, only  two out of 10 for intensity. It’s important to note, however, that ADH receives reports of only a fraction of flu cases, since it only requires reports of hospitalizations, deaths and outbreaks.

Other report key points are:*  

Since September 29, 2019, 35,600 positive influenza tests have been reported to the ADH online database by health care providers, with over 500 positive tests reported this week. (Note that 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, 53 percent were influenza A, and 47 percent were influenza B.
  • There were 199 positive PCR flu tests from private labs this week: 106 tested positive for influenza A, 93 tested positive for influenza B. At the ADH lab, 1 sample tested negative for flu this week.  
  • About 5.8 percent of patients visiting emergency rooms this week were there for ILI About 1.6 percent of outpatient visits were for ILI (ILINet sentinel providers).
  • There were 9 influenza related deaths in Arkansas reported this week for a total of 105 influenza-related deaths including a three pediatric death this season. CDC estimates a total of 23,000 flu deaths have occurred nationwide including 149 pediatric deaths reported this season.
  • Since September 29, 2019, 12 facilities including 10 nursing homes have reported influenza outbreaks.
  • Nationally, the proportion of deaths reported to the National Center for Health Statistics attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) remains below the epidemic threshold this week.

NOTE: There was no school report this week due to school closures for COVID 19 starting March 17, 2020; prior, ADH was aware of 42 schools/districts that closed briefly due to the flu this season.

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