While news on tuberculosis, Ebola and polio have been filling up newscasts this week, influenza has been having a growing impact around the US as well. Find out how much it has grown and what you can do to prevent the flu in this week’s Flu Report!
Once again, we have a very light week in terms of reported flu activity. While no hospitalization data is yet available, note that flu-related deaths are trackable using the CDC’s pneumonia and influenza index which calculates the estimated percentage of deaths due to both diseases. The epidemic threshold is set at 6%, meaning that, for now, influenza is not considered to be an epidemic this season.
Across the country, flu cases are on a slight upward swing with about 30 more cases than last week being reported. The CDC’s estimated percentage of the population that has the flu still sits at 1.1%, meaning that the flu is not spreading nearly as much as it could be. Flu website FluNearYou.org, which works off self-reported data from site users, shows the Northwestern United States as being the hardest hit region with 3.9% of the population reporting illness. It is interesting to compare this to CDC data that shows this to be the least impacted region with only 0.3% of the population affected. The vast difference could be from over-reporting by users on the website or a lesser amount of people seeing medical professionals about their flu-like symptoms (CDC data comes from reported cases by medical professionals). Either way, it is an interesting statistic.
By the Numbers*:
In the United States, the CDC has reported:
- Flu Cases – 96
- Flu-related Hospitalizations – No current data
- Flu-related Deaths** – 5.7%
*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.
**CDC does not know exactly how many people die from seasonal flu each year. CDC uses two categories of underlying cause of death information listed on death certificates: pneumonia and influenza (P&I) causes and respiratory and circulatory (R&C) causes. CDC uses statistical models with records from these two categories to make estimates of influenza-associated mortality. The CDC has set the epidemic threshold at 6%.
As flu season progresses, more up to date information will become available.
Around the World:
Russia remains the nation with the highest flu activity while Ukraine, Austria and Norway are the only nations listed as having moderate activity. Most of the northern hemisphere is experiencing rising activity with many nations sitting on the border between mild and moderate levels of flu activity.
Our tip for this week: Don’t be afraid to see your doctor! Influenza can start simply enough, but it is a virus that can develop into a serious health problem as well. If you are not feeling well and don’t seem to be getting better, seeing a medical professional might be in your best interest. As always, vaccination is key in preventing the disease, but, if you do get sick, be sure to seek medical help if conditions do not improve. For additional help contact a Passport Health flu professional at 1-888-499-PASS (7277) and we’ll help you schedule your flu vaccination today.