ARKANSAS, USA — In the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) weekly flu report released Wednesday, Nov. 23, five new deaths were confirmed related to the flu, including one pediatric death.
The total has now risen to 19 people in Arkansas who have died from flu-related symptoms since the beginning of October. This number includes one child, but their exact ages have not been made public.
Since Oct. 2, over 9,500 positive flu tests were reported to the ADH by healthcare providers. However, the health department notes that these numbers reflect a portion of the actual number of flu cases.
"It is presumed that there are many more people actually affected than the report shows," the ADH said in the report.
Nearly 90% of positive flu tests were influenza A, and 10% were influenza B.
Other key findings:
- During the 2021-22 flu season, Arkansas reported 30 flu-related deaths
- Eight nursing homes have reported flu outbreaks this season, one more than last week
- Nationally, the proportion of deaths reported to the National Center for Health Statistics attributed to pneumonia and influenza this week is above the epidemic threshold
"Statistically, 65 years of age and older are the ones we’re most worried about, Arkansas has every year dozens sometimes hundreds of flu deaths in the vast majority of those year to year regardless of the strain that tends to hit us tends to be our older patients. especially those that tend to have comorbidities, diabetes, COPD, dealing with active cancer of some kind," said Dr. Upton Siddons with Baptist Health Family Clinic Greenwood.
During flu season, ADH produces a weekly report to provide information on flu activity in the state. The report also helps compare how Arkansas measures up nationally. The health department also noted that it reports only a fraction of flu cases since it currently only requires flu-related hospitalizations, deaths, and outbreaks to be reported to the department.