The Flu Report: 1/7/15 January 7, 2015 By Caitlin Bradford Leave a Comment Image courtesy of flunearyou.org. Click here to view the interactive map. The holidays are over but flu season is not. Despite declines in some sectors (including the mortality rate falling back below the epidemic threshold), influenza is still widespread and there has been a steep rise in pediatric deaths. Overview: As of Week 52 of the CDC’s 2014 reporting, 50 of the 54 regions are reporting widespread flu activity. Only seven states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada and Oregon) are showing lower than widespread activity throughout their territory. While the exact number of individuals affected by the flu is unknown, almost one-third of all specimens tested are showing flu present. Flu-related deaths have held steady at 6.8% however there was a drastic increase as 6 children passed away from the flu. That number brings the year total to 21, which puts this season on pace to be one of the more severe in recent history. Doctors visits are on par with the 2012-2013 season, meaning that it could be just as bad, or potentially worse. The 2012-2013 season was one of the worst on record. FluNearYou.org does have slightly higher numbers than the CDC in this respect, but that is because FluNearYou.org uses a variety of user-contributed reporting metrics while CDC reports cases confirmed by medical professionals. By the Numbers: In the United States, the CDC has reported: Flu Cases (Laboratory Confirmed) – 7,289 (30.4% of all specimens tested) Influenza A – 7,041 (96.6%) Influenza B – 248 (3.4%) Flu-related Deaths (Percentage) – 6.8% (0.1% below the 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: While conditions remain the same in the Americas (high throughout North America and low to mild in South America) they have continued to worsen in Europe, according to Google Flu Trends. Western Europe has a moderate rating, with the exception of Spain and the Netherlands which are rated as high, while Eastern Europe ranges from low in the Balkans to high in Russia. Japan has retained its intense flu rating. Staying Healthy: Our tip for this week: Stay warm! With most of the midwest experiencing temperatures that are as much as 20 degrees below normal it is extremely important to dress well and stay warm. Allowing your body temperature to drop below normal can compromise your immune system and leave you open for infection. 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.