Flu Report: First Week of Flu September 1, 2015 By Will Sowards Leave a Comment Flu season is upon us, and here is the first installment of our weekly Flu Report for the 2015-2016 influenza season. In this weekly blog post, we update you on influenza activity in the United States and throughout the world, what you can do to protect yourself and your family from the disease, and other influenza-related topics. The Flu Report runs from September through April and is posted every Wednesday. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, feel free to comment below, on Facebook or via Twitter. You may also email our editorial team. In this week’s report, we review the available flu data and note the changes in this year’s Flu Report from last year’s version. Next week, September 9, will be our first official report of the flu season, and we look forward to providing you with the most up-to-date and relevant data as the season progresses. In The U.S.: Wondering about the flu in your community? Click here to view the full interactive Flu Near You map. This year, our data sources for U.S. flu activity continue to be the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Flu Near You. CDC data is typically the most accurate available; however, most of the CDC’s statistics are laboratory confirmed. Therefore, if someone doesn’t go see a medical professional about his or her illness, we will never know if that person was sick or not by this metric. The CDC has created an algorithm to account for this, called the epidemic threshold, which gives us a clearer idea of what is happening across the country in terms of influenza infection rates. Over the course of the season, we are likely to report state statistics, and these have been made available to the CDC by local governments. They are generally very accurate in determining how much an area is affected by the illness. If you have any further questions on what statistics we use, how they are calculated or other related issues, please contact our editorial staff. By The Numbers: Here we will give you raw data from the CDC as it becomes available. Since flu season has just started, however, data is not yet available: Flu Cases (Laboratory Confirmed) – Undefined Influenza A- Undefined Influenza B- Undefined Flu-Related Deaths (Percentage) – 5.4% (0.4% 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 Last year, the Flu Report used data from Google Flu Trends. However, Google has closed down its flu tracking program. This year, we will be using World Health Organization data instead. One major advantage to this change is that CDC data and WHO data are released on a similar schedule, a few weeks behind real-time. Google’s data was (generally) real-time. This change will allow us to provide more consistency and better context and advice to our readers. Staying Healthy Each week, the Flu Report provides helpful advice to our readers on how to avoid influenza. As of now, the best advice we can give is to get a flu shot. Vaccination can take up to two weeks to take full effect, so getting your shot early should be a top priority.To learn more about flu shot options and which one is right for you, see our influenza portal. For additional information on influenza and its prevention, visit FluFree.com which contains a variety of flu-related resources. To schedule your flu shot, please contact a Passport Health flu professional at and make it through flu season worry-free. The Flu Report is a weekly blog post that provides the latest updates on influenza spread during flu season. It is posted every Wednesday from September through April and focuses on regional outbreaks, global spread and ways to avoid infection.