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The second influenza-related death has been reported in Arkansas this flu season, according to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH).

The average school absenteeism rate last week was 5.5% among public schools, slightly lower than the 5.6% reported the previous week. Newton County’s absenteeism was below the average with 4.39%, followed by Carroll County at 5.71$, Boone County at 5.57%, Marion County at 6.78% and Searcy County at 6.97%.

Since September 29, 2019, 673 positive influenza tests have been reported to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) online database by health care providers, with over 130 positive tests reported this week. Reported cases reflect only a portion of the actual numbers of flu cases in the state.

During flu season, the 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 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.

The report's key points include that there were 18 positive PCR flu tests from private labs this week: four tested positive for influenza A and eight tested positive for influenza B. At the ADH lab, one tested positive for influenza this week.

About 2.3% of patients visiting emergency rooms were there for ILI this week. About 2.9% of outpatient visits were for ILI.

To date, 2 influenza-related deaths have been reported in Arkansas this flu season.

To date, no nursing homes in Arkansas have reported influenza outbreaks.

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