LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The number of deaths due to the flu rose by five in the past week to bring the total number to 184 in what was already the state's deadliest flu season since the state Department of Health began tracking the deaths in 2000.


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas has received 15 more reports of flu fatalities in the past week, raising the death toll to 140 in what's already become the state's deadliest flu season in at least 17 years.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the 15 deaths were reported to the Health Department in a seven-day span ending Tuesday. Of those deaths, 10 were 65 years or older.

The Arkansas Health Department says it's recorded nearly 30 more flu-related deaths over the past week, bringing the total number this season to 122.

Department spokeswoman Meg Mirivel told state lawmakers that the total figure as of Monday is the highest in two decades and is likely to keep rising over the next several weeks. Two of those deaths were children.

Department Director Nate Smith says the majority of flu-related deaths are reported after the peak of transmission, which hadn't arrived as of Monday. The flu season ends in May.


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — State health officials say two dozen Arkansas residents died from the flu last week, pushing the total for the season to 94, and cautioned that based on previous outbreaks the state could see a total of about 270 before spring.

A number that high would be a modern record, passing the 109 deaths from three years ago. No other year this century has had more than 76.

The Arkansas Department of Health is warning residents about a significant influenza outbreak and how best to prepare.

“In a bad flu year, it's estimated a third of the population gets the flu," says Dr. Dirk Haselow, state epidemiologist who is tracking outbreak response. "In Arkansas that would be a million people." 

This influenza season, which began in early December and ends in late March, intensified over the holiday season and is shaping up to be a bad one, Haselow says.