Outbreak Response/Epidemiology Influenza Weekly Report Arkansas 2018-2019
Week Ending Saturday 11/17/2018
Dirk Haselow, MD, PhD State Epidemiologist, Medical Director, Outbreak Response
Shirley Louie, MS, CIH Deputy State Epidemiologist, Director, Center for Public Health Practice
Haytham Safi, MD, MPH Influenza Surveillance Coordinator Haytham.Safi@Arkansas.gov 501-661-2920
Mike Cima, PhD Chief Epidemiologist, Preparedness & Outbreak Response
Lori Simmons, MS Branch Chief, Epidemiology
November 20, 2018
During the 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 U.S. 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. 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 46, Arkansas reported “Sporadic” activity to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for geographic spread of influenza, and “Minimal” or 3/10 for ILI intensity.
Since September 30, 2018, over 900 positive influenza tests have been reported to the ADH online database by health care providers. In Week 46, 31 counties reported influenza cases. The majority of reports came from Independence, Saline, Pulaski, Benton, Crawford, Faulkner, Sebastian, White, Craighead, Poinsett, Scott, and Sharp.
Among flu antigen tests that can distinguish between influenza A and B virus types, 67 percent were influenza A, and 33 percent were influenza B.
There are 18 positive PCR flu tests this week from private labs: 10 tested positive for influenza A, 6 tested positive for influenza B, and 2 samples tested positive for both influenza A and B. At the ADH lab, 4 samples tested negative this week.
About 2.2 percent of patients visiting emergency rooms this week were there for ILI. About 2.6 percent of outpatient visits were for ILI.
The average school absenteeism rate last week was 6.7 percent among public schools.
To date, 3 influenza-related deaths have been reported in Arkansas this flu season. CDC has reported the second pediatric death nationwide this season.
No reports of influenza outbreaks were reported from nursing homes or other facilities this season.
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 45, the geographic spread of influenza was reported as regional in 3 states; Guam and 10 states reported local activities; the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and 35 states reported sporadic activities; and 2 states reported no influenza activities.
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
For Additional National and International Influenza Surveillance Information: World Health Organization (WHO): http://www.who.int/influenza/gisrs_laboratory/flunet/en/index.html. CDC - Seasonal Influenza (Flu) - Weekly Report: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/