The Flu Report: 3/4/2015 March 4, 2015 By Will Sowards Leave a Comment Image courtesy of flunearyou.org. Click here to view the interactive map. Influenza continues to decline this week. We are seeing more states reporting lower levels of activity than in previous weeks and another overall decline in flu cases across the US. Overview: The new year brought with it an unexpected surprise; we have now had eight consecutive weeks of declining flu activity, according to Centers for Disease Control reporting. Despite this overall decline, the number of influenza B cases has once again increased. Luckily, even if B strain cases do continue to increase, there have so far only been 6,843 confirmed cases of influenza B which is just 6.9 percent of all confirmed influenza cases. According to FluNearYou.org, the majority of influenza activity is happening around the San Francisco and Boston areas, but it is worth reminding that this data is from user-based reporting, so it does not reflect all of the data included in CDC numbers. That being said, FluNearYou has been quite accurate in its general prediction of influenza decline so far, so if we continue to rely on this source for accurate data, it is possible that we will see spikes in influenza activity in these areas as the weeks pass. As infection continues to decline, we are also seeing a decline in flu-related deaths. Last week, the flu-related deaths statistic was much higher than the epidemic threshold, but it is now down to just 0.2 percent above that metric and will, hopefully, be below the threshold for next week. By the Numbers: In the United States this week, the CDC has reported: Flu Cases (Laboratory Confirmed) – 2,236 (12.1% of specimens tested) Influenza A- 1,545 (69.1%) Influenza B- 691 (30.9%) Flu-related Deaths (Percentage) – 7.4% (0.2% above 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: Global influenza infection rates are declining in the Northern Hemisphere as most of Europe is now rated as just ‘high’ by Google Flu Trends, a significant movement toward the end of flu season in the region. Russia is now the only country with intense flu activity in world, and Mexico is the only American country with a high rating. The Southern Hemisphere has yet to show any signs of the next flu season, but we will keep you informed for when it begins to become apparent. Staying Healthy: Vaccination is key when avoiding the flu, but it is also imperative to use standard techniques like washing hands and avoiding close contact with those who may be infected. By taking these measures, you can avoid contracting the illness and help keep your family safe all year long. For additional information on influenza and what can be done to prevent it, visit FluFree.com which contains a variety of flu related resources. In order to schedule your flu shot, even for the upcoming 2015-2016 flu season, please contact a Passport Health flu professional at 1-888-499-PASS (7277) and we’ll help you get everything arranged. 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.