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Flu season past its peak, deaths still being reported

Posted: February 25, 2014 - 4:51pm

Influenza season in Arkansas is past its peak, the Arkansas Department of Health said Tuesday, but flu-related deaths are still being documented.

According to Kerry Krell, the department’s public information officer, there have been 52 flu-related deaths with this flu season. The number was reported at 49 Friday.

Krell explained the jump in the number does not necessarily mean three people died over the weekend, but that the department received the official notifications in the past few days.

The primary strain associated with this season has been H1N1, Krell said, a strain that affects a typically healthy and young part of the population.

Adults from 25 to 50 were heavily impacted by the flu this season, according to the department.

Krell said multiple factors could explain why the age group suffered.

One is this primary H1N1 strain’s disproportionately large impact on the age group, and the other may be that this age group is not usually the target for flu shot clinics and awareness efforts, and therefore is less likely to be vaccinated.

“The season is winding down. We’re seeing fewer cases. Hospitals are seeing less emergency room cases, and fewer tests are coming back that are positive for the flu,” Krell said.

The season is not over even though it peaked, and Krell said three to five weeks of flu season remain.

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by email at courtney.spradlin@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1236, or on Twitter @Courtneyism. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)

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