First child death reported in 2019-20 Arkansas flu season, overall total rises to 23

Local News
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The first child death in the 2019-20 Arkansas flu season has been announced by state health officials.

The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) reported the pediatric death in its weekly flu report (for the week that ended Jan. 11) released on Tuesday.

The report also sees a jump to 23 in overall flu deaths this season. That’s eight more than in last week’s report.

The child victim was aged 5-17, said the ADH.

Report Key Points:
• For Week 2, Arkansas reported “Widespread” activity to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for geographic spread of influenza, and “High” or 9 out of 10 for ILI intensity.

• Since September 29, 2019, 8,800 positive influenza tests have been reported to the ADH online database by health care providers, with over 1,100 positive tests reported this week. 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, 48 percent were influenza A, and 52 percent were influenza B.

• There were 298 positive PCR flu tests from private labs this week: 163 tested positive for influenza A, 135 tested positive for influenza B. At the ADH lab, 5 samples tested positive for influenza A Subtype H1N1, 2 samples tested positive for influenza B Subtype Victoria, and 5 samples tested negative for influenza this week.

• About 4.1 percent of patients visiting emergency rooms this week were there for ILI (Syndromic Surveillance). About 4.0 percent of outpatient visits were for ILI (ILINet sentinel providers).

• The average school absenteeism rate last week was 5.4 percent among public schools.

• To date, 23 influenza-related deaths have been reported in Arkansas this flu season, one of them was a pediatric death. CDC estimates a total of 4,800 flu deaths have occurred nationwide including 32 pediatric deaths reported this season.

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