The confirmed influenza cases declined by 100 statewide from Week Five to Week Six.  

The Arkansas Department of Health releases a weekly flu report each year from November to March.

The report for last week shows that numbers are declining statewide.

According to the reports released on their site the year started with only 154 confirmed cases for week ending Jan. 4. However, by Week Five which ended Feb. 1 there were 622 confirmed cases statewide. There were 281 cases of Type A and 320 were Type B. The report also showed that six percent of students were absent from school in Ashley County during Week Five.

The Week Six report showed that flu cases were declining statewide, but Ashley County had an increase of positive flu cases. The total number of confirmed influenza cases state wide was 518 during week six. However, during week six approximately 8.8 percent of students in Ashley County school districts were confirmed to have the flu.

The ADH also reported that there have now been six influenza confirmed deaths in the state since Sept. 29, 2019. Of those deaths, two were reported to be in patients who were 65 or older, three were reported in patients aged 45-64 and one case was reported in patients aged 25-44.

To date, 46 influenza-related deaths have been reported in Arkansas this flu season, one of them was a pediatric death. CDC estimates a total of 12,000 flu deaths have occurred nationwide including 78 pediatric deaths reported this season.

For Week 5, the geographic spread of influenza was reported as widespread in Puerto Rico and 48 states, and regional in two states. The District of Columbia reported local activity, the U.S. Virgin Islands reported sporadic activity, and Guam did not report.

According to a release from the ADH, seasonal flu is a disease that causes mild to severe illness and is easily spread. Each year in the United States, 25-50 million infections are reported, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized and 23,600 die due to seasonal flu.

The seasonal flu virus is spread through coughing or sneezing and by touching a hard surface with the virus on it and then touching your nose or mouth.

The ADH also recommends that people get the flu vaccine to better protect their bodies. The release also says that the vaccine takes one to two weeks to start working, but that vaccination has been shown to have many benefits including reducing the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and even the risk of flu-related death in children.

The ADH also recommends frequent hand washing in order to avoid spreading and advises parents to keep their sick children at home so they do not spread the flu to others as children tend to catch the flu easier than adults.

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