Arkansas’ flu deaths this season rise to 5

A person displaying flu-like symptoms is shown in this undated file photo.
A person displaying flu-like symptoms is shown in this undated file photo.

Five flu-related deaths have been reported in Arkansas since the beginning of October with the most recent one being reported last week, the Arkansas Department of Health reported Wednesday.

All five of the deaths were people 65 or older, and 1 influenza outbreak has been recorded in a nursing home or other congregate setting, the report said.

The flu season is generally from October to May. By mid-December of last year, Arkansas had already reported 64 influenza deaths, including one child death.

During all of the last flu season, the state reported a total of 160 flu deaths.

The report released Wednesday indicated "moderate" activity of flu-like illness in Arkansas last week. By comparison, the report for the week ending Dec. 10, 2022, reported "very high" activity.

Cases usually peak between December and February, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nationally, the CDC estimates 1,600 people have died of the flu this season, according to the Health Department report.

In Arkansas, 1,372 flu cases have been reported from Oct. 1 through Saturday, up from 1,084 a week earlier, the department reported. At about the same point last year 15,900 cases had been reported.

Since many people who catch the flu aren't tested, the reported cases make up only a portion of the total cases in the state.

Flu antigen tests indicate that of the total cases, 388 were influenza A, 952 were influenza B and 21 were both, so far this season, the department reported.

During last year's flu season, over 22,500 positive influenza tests were reported to the state health department by the spring.

The Health Department also reported that 11 covid-related deaths were reported last week, bringing the total since Jan. 1 to 615.

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