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State health officials say six people have died in Arkansas from influenza so far this flu season.

The Arkansas Department of Health says the deaths have all occurred in people 45 years old or older.

Six influenza deaths reported

During flu season, the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) produces a Weekly Influenza Report for clinicians.

Some key points from the report include:

• For Week 48, Arkansas reported “Local” activity to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for geographic spread of influenza, and “Moderate” or 7 out of 10 for ILI intensity.

• Since September 29, 2019, 1,881 positive influenza tests have been reported to the ADH online database by health care providers, with over 200 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, 59% were influenza A, and 41% were influenza B.

There were 28 positive PCR flu tests from private labs this week: 13 tested positive for influenza A, 14 tested positive for influenza B and one tested positive for both A and B. At the ADH lab, one tested positive for influenza B subtype Victoria; no samples tested negative for influenza this week.

About 3.3% of patients visiting emergency rooms this week were there for ILI (Syndromic Surveillance). About 3.9% of outpatient visits were for ILI (ILINet sentinel providers).

• The average school absenteeism rate last week was 11.2% among public schools. Most major public schools were out last week for the holidays.

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

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