The Flu Report: 11/12/14 November 12, 2014 By Cait Hartwyk Leave a Comment Image courtesy of flunearyou.org. Click here to view the interactive map. This week marks the largest flu spread of the year so far. With 504 confirmed cases and Mexico gaining a moderate flu rating from Google Flu Trends we are starting to see the flu spread more heavily throughout the United States and the world. Overview: The rise to over 500 confirmed cases serves to show how influenza can spread very quickly. Health and Human Services Region 4 (which stretches from Louisiana and Arkansas to Florida) accounted for 9.3% of all cases, while its neighbor, Region 6 (Louisiana east to the Arizona border), accounted for 7.0% of all cases. It is interesting to note the spread of the disease between regions. This trend may indicate that flu cases from Region 10, comprised of Washington and Idaho and showing the second highest amount of flu activity in the US, could spread south. If this is combined with the westward spread from Region 6, infection rates could well increase in Region 9 (California, Nevada, Arizona and Oregon) quite soon. Also of note is the almost total lack of cases in Region 1 (New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts) where there were only 33 confirmed cases over the last week. Perhaps not surprisingly, this is also the area of the nation with the highest flu vaccination rate. By the Numbers: In the United States, the CDC has reported: Flu Cases (Laboratory Confirmed) – 504 (6.0% of specimens tested) Influenza A – 394 (78.2%) Influenza B – 110 (21.8%) Flu-related Deaths (Percentage) – 5.7% (0.5% below the 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. Around the World: The flu has finally spread, at least in a heavier concentration, to North America. Mexico is now listed as moderate by Google Flu Trends and is the first country in North America to reach that level for this flu season. Canada seems to be moving closer while the United States remains below endemic levels. Staying Healthy: Our tip for this week: Use tissues. Using tissues for a cold, the flu ,or even allergies is a good way of both staying healthy and helping those around you do the same. Tissues will help contain germs and keep them from spreading too far. Be sure to either wash your hands or use hand sanitizer as well to avoid any further spread. 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. The Flu Report is a weekly blog post designed to give updates on the spread of influenza throughout the year. It is posted every Wednesday and focuses on regional outbreaks, global spread and ways to avoid infection.