Flu Outbreak Moderate in Arkansas
January 2, 2019 1 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 52, Arkansas reported “Regional” activity to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for geographic spread of influenza, and “Moderate” or 7/10 for ILI intensity. Since September 30, 2018, over 2,300 positive influenza tests have been reported to the ADH online database by health care providers. In Week 52, 52 counties reported influenza cases. The majority of reports came from Garland, Pulaski, Benton, Sebastian, Faulkner, Craighead, Jefferson, Washington, Franklin, and Johnson. Among flu antigen tests that can distinguish between influenza A and B virus types, 73 percent were influenza A, and 27 percent were influenza B. There are 40 positive PCR flu tests this week from private labs: 36 tested positive for influenza A, 2 tested positive for influenza B, and 2 tested positive for influenza A subtype H3N2. At the ADH lab, no samples tested this week. About 3.1 percent of patients visiting emergency rooms this week were there for ILI. About 4.3 percent of outpatient visits were for ILI. No school absenteeism report was provided this week due to holiday breaks for the public schools. To date, 10 influenza-related deaths have been reported in Arkansas this flu season, including one pediatric death. CDC has reported a total of 11 pediatric deaths 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 51, the geographic spread of influenza was reported as widespread in Guam and 11 states; Puerto Rico and 19 states reported regional activities; 15 states reported local activities; the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and 3 states reported sporadic activities; and 2 states 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.go