Baxter County’s school absenteeism rate from illness remains above state average


While Baxter County no longer leads the state in public school absenteeism from illness, its rate of 9.37 percent is still above the state average of 7.75 for the reporting week ending Saturday. During the flu season, the Arkansas Department of Health produces a Weekly Influenza Report for clinicians. The report provides information on flu activity in the state.
The highest absenteeism rate in North Central Arkansas belongs to Searcy County at 11.35 percent. Searcy was among five counties across the state in the 10 to 15 percent range for absenteeism.
Izard County at 9.84 percent and Marion at 9.37 percent were also above the state average.
Fulton at 7.41 percent and Stone at 7.25 percent were slightly below the state's 7.75 percent average, while Newton County's absenteeism rate stood at 6.92 percent.
For the first time in several weeks, none of the North Central counties made the state's list where the majority of influenza cases were reported.Since Sept. 30th, 2018, over 11,400 positive influenza tests have been reported to the ADH online database by health care providers.

The report also compares influenza-like illness in Arkansas to activity in the U.S. ADH receives reports of only a fraction of flu cases. Therefore, department officials note it is important to understand the information in the weekly update is representative of the timing and location of activity, but it does not reflect the overall burden of disease. It is presumed there are many more people actually affected than the report shows.

Among flu antigen tests that can distinguish between influenza A and B virus types, 90 percent were influenza A, and 10 percent were influenza B.

To date, 25 influenza-related deaths have been reported in Arkansas this flu season, including one pediatric death.

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