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— The Center for Disease Control has confirmed the first death of the flu in Arkansas this flu season.

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 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 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. Clinicians and policy makers may find the report helpful in terms of communicating to colleagues and patients about the current status of the flu season.

Report Key Points:

• Ouachita County Public school reported a 5.32 absenteeism rate. The average school absenteeism rate last week was 5.6 percent among public schools.

• For Week 43, Arkansas reported “Sporadic” activity to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for geographic spread of influenza, and “Minimal” or 2 out of 10 for ILI intensity.

• Since September 29, 2019, 482 positive influenza tests have been reported to the ADH online database by health care providers, with over 110 positive tests reported this 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, 72 percent were influenza A, and 28 percent were influenza B.

• There were 9 positive PCR flu tests from private labs this week: 5 tested positive for influenza A and 4tested positive for influenza B. At the ADH lab, 1 tested positive for influenza A subtype H1N1, 1 sample tested negative for influenza this week.

• About 1.7 percent of patients visiting emergency rooms were there for ILI this week. About 1.8 percent of outpatient visits were for ILI.

• To date, 1 influenza-related death has been reported in Arkansas this flu season. CDC has reported a total of 2 pediatric deaths nationwide this season.

• To date, no nursing homes in Arkansas have reported influenza outbreaks.

• Nationally, 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.

• For week 42, the geographic spread of influenza was reported as widespread in 1 state and regional in 1 state; 6 states reported local activities; the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and 40 states reported sporadic activity; and 1 state reported no activity. Guam and 1 state did not report.

• You can report flu year-round and view the weekly influenza report during the influenza season at: http://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/influenza.You can also access the reporting

website directly at: https://FluReport.ADH.Arkansas.gov

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