The latest weekly flu report has been released indicating Searcy County has the second highest public school absenteeism rate in the state at 11.15%. The state’s average school absenteeism rate for the week ending Saturday was 7.4%. Jackson County had the state’s highest absenteeism rate at 11.55%. As of Tuesday, the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) reports officials were aware of four schools/districts having closed briefly due to the flu. In the rest of the area Northwest Arkansas counties, the report indicates the absenteeism rates stood for Marion at 8.64%, Carroll at 8.57%, Newton at 7.72%, Boone at 7.14%, and Madison at 5.96%.
During the flu seasons the ADH produces a Weekly Influenza Report for clinicians. The report provides information on flu activity in the state. The report also compares influenzalike-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.
Therefore, it is important to understand 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 there are many more people actually affected than the report shows.
Since Sept. 29, over 13,000 positive influenza tests have been reported to the ADH online database by health care providers, with over 1,900 positive tests reported this past week. Reported cases reflect only a portion of the actual numbers of flu cases in the state.
Among flu antigen tests that can distinguish between influenza A and B virus types, 48% were influenza A, and 52% were influenza B.
To date, 33 influenza-related deaths have been reported in Arkansas this flu season, with one of them being pediatric. The CDC estmates 8,200 flu deaths have occurred nationwide, with 54 pediatric ones being reported this season.
To date, four facilities including two nursing homes in Arkansas have reported influenza outbreaks.
To view the full report, click here.