Influenza cases are up over 40 percent from last week, and, although the locations of these infections haven’t changed much, the increased infection rate is something to pay attention to.
As of now, 9.3% of specimens received for flu testing have come out positive. While this does not mean that 9.3% of the population has flu, it does mean that a larger portion of those seeking help are indeed sick with the flu virus. The CDC now shows Region 10 (AK, ID, OR, WA) as having the highest concentration of flu cases with 18.2% of tests showing positive results. However, Region 4 (AL, FL, GA, KY, MS, NC, SC, TN) still has the highest number of cases over the same period.
What is truly interesting is the CDC’s Influenza-Like Illness map which shows (in addition to the data already mentioned) that no US state has above a ‘Low’ rating, but Puerto Rico has a rating of ‘High.’ In fact, the influenza-like illness activity rates in Puerto Rico are far and away the highest of any US state or territory. FluNearYou.org seems to a agree with this, showing a majority of users in Puerto Rico have influenza, or, at the very least, flu-like symptoms.
By the Numbers:
In the United States, the CDC has reported:
- Flu Cases (Laboratory Confirmed) – 955 (9.3% of specimens tested)
- Influenza A – 836 (87.5%)
- Influenza B – 119 (12.5%)
- Flu-related Deaths (Percentage) – 5.0% (1.4% below endemic threshold)
NOTE: Flu cases, as referenced above, are confirmed cases in people who have gone to see medical professionals. Percentage estimates, referenced in the “Overview” section, include these documented cases from medical professionals but also a variety of other self-reported metrics.
As flu season progresses, more up to date information will become available.
Around the World:
Influenza is spreading further throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Mexico and Russia are near severe levels of influenza activity, according to Google Flu Trends. Meanwhile, Canada remains at moderate levels of flu infection. Western Europe remains mild, as does almost all of the Southern Hemisphere.
Our tip for this week: get your flu shot! It’s not too late to protect yourself against the flu. According to the CDC, almost 140 million doses of the flu vaccine have been given to date. Be part of the solution, and help keep yourself healthy by getting vaccinated. Influenza vaccines do take two weeks to become fully effective, meaning the sooner you get vaccinated, the better.