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Flu-related deaths not stopping, 55 to date


The number of flu-related death's are not slowing as the number for this season rose to 55, according to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) in its weekly report. The activity level continues to be very high.
ADH produces a Weekly Viral Respiratory Diseases Report for clinicians. The report provides information on Influenza, COVID-19 and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) activity in the state. The report also compares activities in Arkansas to the U.S. ADH receives reports of only a fraction of COVID-19 cases and flu cases since it only requires reports of flu hospitalizations, deaths, and outbreaks. RSV is not a reportable disease in Arkansas. 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 disease burden. It is presumed that there are many more people actually affected than the report shows. Clinicians and policymakers may find the report helpful in terms of communicating to colleagues and patients about the current status of viral respiratory diseases in the state and nationwide.
Report Key Points for Week 7:
• Arkansas reported “Very High” or 11 out of 13 for the Influenza-Like-Illness (ILI) activity level indicator determined by data reported to ILINet.
• Hospital Emergency Department visits reported through Syndromic Surveillance were at 10.07% for Influenza-Like-Illness (ILI), 3.29% for COVID-Like-Illness (CLI), and 0.17% for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).
• Outpatient visits for ILI reported through ILINet from the Sentinel Providers were at 6.40%.
• The average school absenteeism rate last week was 8.80% among public schools.
• Arkansas reported 55 influenza-related deaths in the 2023-24 flu season. Of these, 73% were not vaccinated.
• Nationally, CDC estimates that there have been at least 24 million illnesses, 260,000 hospitalizations, and 16,000 deaths from flu so far this season.
• Arkansas reported no COVID-19-related deaths this week with a total of 701 deaths in 2023 and 88 since 01/01/2024. The weekly deaths reflect week reported not date of death.
• This flu season, 21 influenza outbreaks have been reported from nursing homes or other congregate setting institutions.
• Nationally, the proportion of deaths reported to the National Center for Health Statistics that were attributed to pneumonia, influenza and COVID-19 (PIC) was above the epidemic threshold this week.