LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The impact of the flu on Arkansas residents continues to climb with an increase in infections and deaths seen in the last week.
The Arkansas Department of Health reported Wednesday that the state has seen over 11,900 flu cases reported since Oct. 2, a one-week increase of 2,400 cases.
For the reporting period ending Nov. 26, the ADH reported 30 influenza-related deaths had occurred during the current season, an increase of 11 since the previous week’s report.
Hospital visits were also increasing, with 8% of ER visits and 8% of outpatient visits for flu. The previous week was 7% and 6% in these two categories.
The ADH report showed 13 nursing homes reporting flu outbreaks, up from eight last week.
School absenteeism was not reported for the week due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
According to National Center for Health Statistics reports, this infection rate places Arkansas in the “Very High” flu activity level category with a rank of 12 out of a possible 13. The center said that the proportion of deaths reported due to pneumonia and influenza is above the epidemic threshold level.
ADH points out that reported cases represent only a fraction of total cases since only hospitalizations, deaths and outbreaks are tracked.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates a total of 6.2 million illnesses, 53,000 hospitalizations and 2,900 deaths from the flu this year.