Flu Report: How Effective Will the 2015 Flu Vaccine Be? September 16, 2015 By Will Sowards Leave a Comment This week, both Flu Near You and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are reporting very low rates of influenza infection throughout the United States. Remember that Flu Near You offers real time data and the data from the CDC is a bit older. Both of these sources of data demonstrate that influenza has yet to take hold. In The U.S.: Wondering about the flu in your community? Click here to view the full interactive Flu Near You map. Looking at influenza infection throughout the United States, Flu Near You’s data suggests a fairly even spread throughout the country with slightly larger pockets of infection in large population centers like New York City and Los Angeles. Even with some concentration of infection, overall incidence of flu-like symptoms is less than one percent. CDC data tends to agree with this assessment, but it shows the West Coast as having higher levels of influenza activity at the moment. What is most interesting on the flu front at present is what is happening internationally, which we will get to further below. But, current influenza incidence within the United States and abroad seems to suggest that this year’s flu vaccine will be effective, or at the very least more effective than last year’s. With this in mind, Passport Health, the CDC and other organizations recommend that everyone who is able to receive a flu vaccine get vaccinated right away. Since it can take up to two weeks for the vaccine to become fully effective, be sure to get vaccinated as soon as possible. By The Numbers: In the United States, the CDC reported: Flu Cases (Laboratory Confirmed) – 246 (over the last three weeks) Influenza A – 191 Influenza B – 48 Flu-Related Deaths (Percentage) – 5.0% (0.8% 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 Australia remains the hardest hit region for influenza globally with well over 30 percent of samples showing positive results for influenza. The majority of these samples tested positive for B strains, according to the World Health Organization. Southeast Asia and Micronesia have been affected as well, but influenza A (H3) makes up the majority of cases in these regions. Most other regions are reporting influenza A strains as the most common with A (H1N1) and A (H3) as the most common variants. As our post on the 2015-2016 flu shot mentioned, this year’s flu vaccine protects against the A strains H1N1, H2N2 and two different B strains. Based on this current WHO data, there is evidence to suggest that this year’s vaccine will protect against influenza at an even higher level than the 2014-2015 vaccine. Staying Healthy Outside of vaccination, which is the best possible protection against influenza, there are a few other ways to avoid the virus. One method is extremely simple and is something we should do every day but often overlook. Washing one’s hands on a regular basis is a great way to protect against influenza and other types of infection. It is recommended by the CDC and WHO to first wet your hands, lather with soap, scrub them for at least 20 seconds, rinse them under running water and finally dry them using a clean towel or air. Stopping influenza is a team effort, and between vaccination, hand washing and other methods, we can stay flu-free all winter long. 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 gives the latest updates on influenza spread during flu season. It is posted every Wednesday from September to April and focuses on regional outbreaks, global spread and ways to avoid infection.