The Flu Report: 12/3/14 December 3, 2014 By Cait Hartwyk Leave a Comment Image courtesy of flunearyou.org. Click here to view the interactive map. Over the last week, influenza spread has grown significantly throughout the US with over 1,000 new confirmed cases over the previously reported period. Although not all regions have been affected equally, it is obvious that the flu is reaching its seasonal norms. Overview: Flu is finally hitting its stride in the United States. As of the most recent reporting, only Region 7 (IA, KS, MO, NE) and Region 9 (AZ, CA, Guam, HI, NV) are not reporting widespread flu activity. Meanwhile, Region 4 (AL, FL, GA, KY, MS, NC, SC, TN) and Region 10 (AK, ID, OR, WA) remain the most affected areas with the most cases and highest positive tested specimen percentage respectively. FluNearYou.org shows a total of 15.4% of its users having either a flu-like illness or flu symptoms which is more or less in line with CDC estimates. The flu tracking website also shows New England as the most affected area, a major difference from CDC estimates, but considering the difference in how data for both organizations is collected (clinically for the CDC and based off of user reports for FluNearYou), this is not entirely unexpected. By the Numbers: In the United States, the CDC has reported: Flu Cases (Laboratory Confirmed) – 1,228 (12.6% of tested specimens) Influenza A – 1,123 Influenza B – 105 Flu-related Deaths (Percentage) – 5.3% (1.1% below epidemic 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: Russia and Mexico are nearing high severity in flu activity, according to Google Flu Trends. Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands have reached a moderate rating while most other nations range between low and mild rates of infection. Be sure to be prepared for whatever the flu conditions might be in your travel destination. Staying Healthy: Our tip for this week: practice good disinfection techniques. Washing your hands is a very important part of avoiding influenza, but other surfaces at your work and in your home can host those germs as well. Use a disinfecting wipe to clean off surfaces like keyboards, your computer mouse, telephones, and anything else that tends to get handled frequently. This can help you avoid infection from commonly used surfaces. For additional help and advice, 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.