Three Arkansans Now Dead from Flu

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Health Department says three Arkansans have died from the flu virus so far this year.

Dr. Sandra Snow of the Health Department said today there has been a sharp increase in flu cases in the past two weeks in the state.  She says flu season in Arkansas generally lasts until the end of March.

Last year, seven deaths were attributed to the flu.  In 2000, the agency says 36 people died from the flu in Arkansas.

Snow says people should stay home when they are sick and that close contact should be avoided with those who are ill.  It is not too late to get a flu shot, though this year's vaccine doesn't fully match the varieties in circulation.  Snow said the vaccine could still result in a milder case of the flu if the illness is contracted.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)