(October 31, 2003) - (Little Rock-AP) -- State health officials say it's time for Arkansans to get their flu shots. Arkansas is among five state where flu is appearing sporadically this fall, according to federal health officials. They say it is already widespread in Texas. Arizona, Louisiana, Nebraska and New York also have reported sporadic cases. Forty states and the District of Columbia reported no cases of the flu; four states did not report to the federal agency that week. Influenza is a contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. About 36-thousand people in the United States die each year from the flu. In Arkansas, flu season continues through March, but a person can contract the illness any time of the year. So far this fall, the state Health Department has gotten reports of the flu from eight counties: Desha, Faulkner, Lonoke, Miller, Perry, Pulaski, Sebastian, and Washington.