ARKANSAS (KFSM) — 57 people have now died from influenza in Arkansas this flu season according to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). 70 percent were unvaccinated or had an unknown vaccine history
The ADH’s weekly flu report noted that the state has reported “widespread” activity to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a geographic spread and a “high” level of intensity.
Since September 30, 2018, over 22,400 positive influenza tests have been reported to the ADH online database by health care providers. Last week, the number of tests reported was 18,600 increasing by 3,800 in one week.
In week nine, 72 counties reported influenza cases. The majority of reports came from Pulaski, Benton, Lonoke, Sebastian, Saline, Washington, White, Garland, Franklin, Faulkner, Pope, Scott, Yell, and Lawrence.
The average school absenteeism rate last week was 6.9 percent among public schools. ADH says that 17 schools closed briefly because of the flu.
The CDC has reported a total of 56 pediatric deaths nationwide this season.
Among flu antigen tests that can distinguish between influenza A and B virus types, 93 percent were influenza A, and 7 percent were influenza B.
The proportion of deaths reported to the National Center for Health Statistics attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) was below the system-specific epidemic threshold.
Since September 31, 2018, five nursing homes in Arkansas have reported influenza outbreaks.
Click here to read the full flu report.