Health Officials Reporting Spike in Local Flu Cases

FEBRUARY 2, 2005 - Posted at 7:39 a.m. CST

JONESBORO, AR - The Arkansas Health Department says it expects the number of influenza cases in the state to rise in the weeks ahead, although a spike in the number of flu cases is already being seen in northeast Arkansas.

Positive lab cultures for Influenza Type-A have been reported in eight Arkansas counties, while positive cultures for Influenza Type-B have been discovered in six of the state's counties.  The peak flu season is usually considered to be December through March, but this year's season is peaking later than usual in northeast Arkansas.

The outbreak is definitely being felt at some Jonesboro area schools.  More than 250 students missed classes yesterday in the Valley View district with flu-like symptoms.

The health department says vaccines for both types of influenza are available to health clinics statewide.  The vaccine was in short supply earlier.  Health officials say it is still not too late to get a flu shot.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)