During flu season the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) produces a Weekly Influenza Report for clinicians. The report provides information on flu activity in the state. The report also compares influenza like illness (ILI) in Arkansas to activity in the US. ADH receives reports of only a fraction of flu cases. Therefore, it is important to understand that 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.
Arkansas reported “Regional” flu activity to the CDC last week—a reduction from “Widespread” the preceding week. Over 500 positive antigen reports were received last week from 56 counties. Twelve samples reported last week were confirmed Positive for influenza by PCR testing: 4 Type A+, 3 Type A H3+, 3 Type B+, and 2 Type B Victoria. So far during this flu season, Arkansas has had 40 flu-related deaths, all among adults. A total of 86 pediatric deaths in the U.S. have been reported. The proportion of deaths in the U.S. attributed to pneumonia and influenza based on the 122 Cities Mortality Reporting System increased slightly to 8.4% this week, but remains high and above the epidemic threshold of 7.2%.