LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas health officials say nearly two dozen people died from the flu in Arkansas last week, pushing the season’s total to 70. Health Department data released Wednesday show that most victims were over age 65. One child is in the total.
During the week ending last Saturday, Arkansas had “widespread” flu activity. The state rated its “influenza-like illness” as “high.”
All of Arkansas’ 75 counties had flu cases last week. The Health Department data showed that, among emergency room visits last week, nearly 8 percent were for the flu or flu-like illnesses. Public schools reported an absenteeism rate of 8.85 percent — up from 7.5 percent the week before. The agency says 32 percent of children were absent in Crittenden County, and 24 percent in Grant County. Numbers for Jefferson County were not readily available on Wednesday.
Arkansas Department of Health spokesperson Katie White said there have been 1,019 confirmed cases of the flu in Jefferson County since Oct. 1, 2017.
MedExpress is seeing more instances of flu throughout Arkansas than it has the past seasons during the same time period, a spokesman said. MedExpress centers in Arkansas have seen a 1 percent to 2 percent increase in patients with ILI during the past two weeks. MedExpress Urgent Care has an office in Pine Bluff and its medical professionals are treating many patients who have the flu. Doctors recommend people get an annual flu vaccine to protect themselves and their family members.