Arkansas Health

The Arkansas Department of Health says 25 people have died from flu-related illness in the state so far this season.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the Health Department released its weekly influenza report on Friday. Of the 25 deaths, officials say 19 of the victims were over age 65, four were 45 to 65 years old and two were between the ages of 25 and 44.

The Arkansas Department of Health tracks the flu for one calendar year starting on Sept. 28, as well as from September through March.

A map showing the extent of flu activitiy in each U.S. state
Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

Arkansas may be on track to see a flu season just as bad, if not worse, than the 2013-14 season. The Arkansas Department of Health says so far, there have been 12 confirmed flu-related deaths. At least six of those were people over the age of 65. Spokeswoman Kerry Krell says the pattern is widespread.

“Predominantly this season we're seeing H3N2,” she says. “It is notorious for causing a lot of illness; causing a lot of hospitalizations, especially in the elderly population.”

For Smith National Historic Site
nps.gov / National Park Service

Arkansas’s second largest city, Fort Smith, will embark on 12-year, $255 million upgrade to its sewer and water treatment operations as part of a settlement regarding a decade of Clean Water Act violations. KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman talked to the Environmental Protection Agency’s chief of the Municipal Enforcement Branch Loren Denton about where untreated waste ended up and the prospects of cleaner water.

The head of an Arkansas non-profit group dedicated to improving the quality of care for nursing home residents says an NPR series reinforces the need for stricter enforcement of an existing law.

The federal Nursing Home Reform Act was passed 27 years ago, saying antipsychotic medications should not be used to sedate residents suffering from Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia.

State Rep. John Hutchison (R-Harrisburg)
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Members of the state legislature on Monday reviewed the potential impact of a proposed $2 billion, 750 mile interstate transmission line that would cross Arkansas from west to east from just north of Fort Smith to West Memphis.

Outgoing Republican State Representative John Hutchison (R-Harrisburg) has typically been against regulating the energy sector. However, Hutchison believes the Plains and Eastern Clean Line Transmission Project will bring problems to waterfowl, such as ducks, in the areas it crosses. That includes an area nearby his own property in northeast Arkansas. 

Flu Shot
Carmichael Yepez / U.S. Navy

The Arkansas Department of Health has scheduled vaccine clinics for areas throughout the state as the flu season begins to ramp up.

The flu shot clinics had been pushed back this fall because there was a delay in the shipment of the vaccines from manufacturers. The clinics are now set to take place in November and December at cities and towns throughout Arkansas.

One of the largest clinics will be held Dec. 4 at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds in Little Rock.

Flu Shot
Carmichael Yepez / U.S. Navy

Public flu shot clinics throughout Arkansas are being postponed because of a delay in the shipment of more than a quarter-million doses of the vaccine.

The Arkansas Department of Health says the shipment of 256,450 doses of the vaccine is expected to arrive no later than early November. But the health department says it already has more than 191,000 doses on hand that will be used in school flu shot clinics throughout the state.

Members of Arkansas' House delegation have sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging his administration to take more steps to protect Americans against the spread of the Ebola virus.

Republican congressmen Rick Crawford, Tim Griffin, Steve Womack and Tom Cotton want the administration to consider implementing travel restrictions on countries affected by the virus and enforce immigration policies.

Friday's letter also expresses concern that people in affected countries could - possibly knowingly- be infected but not yet symptomatic and travel to the U.S.

The Arkansas Department of Health on Monday confirmed the state has its first case of enterovirus D68. The respiratory virus has spread over the last month, reaching states bordering Arkansas. Spokeswoman Kerry Krell said the symptoms, mostly in children, are similar to a cold but can be severe.

insurance.arkansas.gov / Arkansas Insurance Department

Arkansas Insurance Commissioner Jay Bradford says the commission's conversion to a new system will mean a delay in issuing appointments, license renewals and the issuing of new licenses.

Bradford says the new system will mean an approximate 10-day stoppage in the processing of the documents beginning Oct. 10.

The department says those most likely to be affected are individuals and agencies with a health exchange license due at the end of September and agencies which normally renew Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.

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