Arkansas reports 11 more flu deaths, “very high” level of flu activity

A person with flu-like symptoms is shown in this undated file photo (Dreamstime/TNS)
A person with flu-like symptoms is shown in this undated file photo (Dreamstime/TNS)

Eleven flu-related deaths were reported in Arkansas over the past week, raising this season's death toll to 40, the state Department of Health reported Wednesday.

The state's level of flu activity, based on visits to the doctor by people with a fever and cough or sore throat, was rated "very high" last week, up from "high" the previous week, according to a weekly Health Department report.

Three of the deaths reported in the past week were of people between the ages 45 and 64, and the others were of people aged 65 or older.

Of the other people who have died of the flu so far this season, two were age 18-24, three were age 25-44, seven were 45-64 and 17 were 65 or older.

During the week ending Saturday, 71 people were admitted to hospitals with the flu, down from 82 the previous week, the department reported.

Meanwhile, 85 people were newly hospitalized with covid-19, the same number that were hospitalized the previous week.

From Oct. 1 through the week ending Jan. 27, Arkansas reported 9,449 confirmed flu cases, up from 7,701 cases as of a week earlier.

Cases usually peak between December and February, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

During last year's flu season, the state had a "low" level of activity in early February.

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.

The flu season is generally from October to May. Around this time last year, Arkansas had already reported 138 influenza-related deaths, including one child death.

Fourteen influenza outbreaks have been reported from nursing homes or other congregate setting institutions this flu season. Around this time last year, the Health Department reported a total of 20 outbreaks.

Nationally, the CDC estimates 14,000 deaths from flu so far this season, according to the Health Department report.

During last year's flu season, more than 22,500 positive influenza tests were reported to the state Health Department by the spring.

The Health Department also recorded no covid-related deaths reported over the past week. The total since Jan. 1, 2023, remained at 699, including 66 deaths reported since the start of 2014.

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