The Flu Report: 2/4/15 February 4, 2015 By Caitlin Bradford Leave a Comment Image courtesy of flunearyou.org. Click here to view the interactive map. Although influenza cases are on the decline, the virus is just as deadly as ever. This report pays particular attention to flu spread and mortality. Overview: Overall, influenza spread has declined throughout January and continuing into early February. Although 51 of 54 jurisdictions are still reporting widespread flu activity, some states are now nearing a mild to moderate rating especially in the South. However, instances of influenza-like-illness are still higher than 2013-2014 levels and are barely below 2012-2013 levels, which was the worst season since the 2009-2010 season. The flu mortality rate is still high at 9.1 percent, 2.0 percent higher than the epidemic threshold. FluNearYou.org, which is constantly updated as new information comes in, shows a greater decline in influenza, and this fact will hopefully translate into a decline in flu-related deaths over the coming weeks. The Centers for Disease Control reports 61 pediatric deaths, making it extremely likely that the 2014-2015 flu season will result in more pediatric deaths than occurred last year. By the Numbers: In the United States, the CDC has reported: Flu Cases (Laboratory Confirmed) – 4,651 (19.9% of specimens tested) Influenza A – 4,343 (93.4%) Influenza B – 308 (6.6%) Flu-related Deaths (Percentage) – 9.1% (2.0% above 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: Canada and the United States are now listed as moderate by Google Flu Trends; however, Mexico is still classified as having a high concentration of flu. Europe, Spain, France and Belgium are listed as having a severe rating while the rest of Europe sits at high or moderate, with only Poland being classified as low. Japan has retained its severe rating, although flu spread in Japan does appear to be declining. Staying Healthy: Our tip for this week: maintain proper anti-flu measures. Just because influenza appears to be on the decline doesn’t mean we can afford to be lax in our efforts to fight its spread. Be sure to wash your hands, cover your mouth and nose properly when coughing or sneezing, and stay home if you do become sick. These measures, along with a flu shot, will help keep you and those around you safe as we near the end of flu season. 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.