Arkansas Child Flu Deaths Grows to Five

Arkansas Child Flu Deaths Grows to Five

So far this year, the Centers for Disease Control has recorded 114 pediatric deaths nationwide compared to 110 during the entirety of last year's flu season.

The death toll in Arkansas last month surpassed the 110 people who died in the 2014-15 season, which had been the state's deadliest since the state Department of Health began tracking flu deaths in 2000. The Department of Health has yet to release data for the last few weeks, so it doesn't know how the season has progressed since the initial decline in flu cases.

Four of the five deaths were recent, while one occurred during the first week in February.

That total is double the 58 deaths the state recorded in 2009, the first year when all flu deaths here had to be reported to Georgia Public Health.

Is the worst of the flu season yet to come?

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It had been driven by a kind of flu that tends to put more people in the hospital and cause more deaths, and officials lately are seeing less of that.

"Although the majority of cases that we've seen is the H3N2, which is a strain of influenza which has been notorious for bad flu seasons... influenza B cases are still on the rise", says Brown.

In Arkansas, the number of patients visiting emergency rooms with high fevers and coughs or sore throats during the week that ended Saturday fell by 47 percent compared with the previous week, from 1,101 to 581, the state Health Department reported.

State Epidemiologist Dirk Haselow said it appears the state's flu season peaked in early February.

Because the Department of Health can't estimate when the flu season will end, it still recommends that those who aren't vaccinated get a flu shot as soon as possible.

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