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— Special to the Camden News

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:

• For Week 1, Arkansas reported “Minimal” or 2 out of 13 for Influenza-Like-Illness (ILI) activity level indicator determined by data reported to ILINet.

• Since September 27, 2020, 1,150 positive influenza tests have been reported to the ADH online database by health care providers. Please 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, 33 percent were influenza A, and 67 percent were influenza B.

• About 1 percent of patients visiting emergency rooms this week were there for ILI (Syndromic Surveillance). About 1 percent of outpatient visits were for ILI (ILINet sentinel providers).

• The average school absenteeism rate last week was 7 percent among public schools with Ouachita County Public schools reporting a 7.22 percent absentee rate.

• Arkansas reported nine influenza-related deaths this flu season.

• No nursing homes have reported influenza outbreaks this season.

• Nationally, the proportion of deaths reported to the National Center for Health Statistics attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) is above the epidemic threshold this week.

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