Flu Report: What is Influenza A? October 14, 2015 By Will Sowards Leave a Comment In the last week before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention releases its in-depth weekly influenza numbers, we take a look at the still low influenza rate in the U.S., what the prevalence of influenza A means, and we have our first real look at the flu situation in Europe. In The U.S.: Wondering about the flu in your community? Click here to view the full interactive Flu Near You map. Current CDC data continues to show low flu activity throughout the United States, with less than 400 laboratory confirmed cases over the last three weeks. The southern U.S. remains the region with the most activity, although there does appear to be increased activity in the southwest and northern parts of the midwest areas of the country. Still, these are generally considered sporadic cases for now and only indicate smaller regional trends. FluNearYou indicates a national rise in the reporting of flu-like symptoms but only up to two percent. Throughout much of the United States, activity is minimal to virtually non-existent. However, FluNearYou does show an increased reporting of flu-like symptoms in the northeast, stretching from Boston to Baltimore. Whether we will see this uptick reflected in CDC data next week, or if this is just an instance of self-reporting exceeding laboratory tested reporting, is still unknown. One commonality among all regions reporting, both in and outside the U.S., is the prevalence of influenza A. Most commonly known as bird flu, influenza A has 29 known subtypes (or variants) only two of which are currently in general circulation among humans. For now, this is great news! The current influenza vaccine protects against both strains (H1N1 and H3N2) meaning that if you are vaccinated, you should be fully protected against influenza A. By The Numbers: In the United States, the CDC reported: Flu Cases (Laboratory Confirmed) – 387 Influenza A – 280 (72.4%) Influenza B – 98 (25.3%) Flu-Related Deaths (Percentage) – 5.6% (0.3% 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 As influenza rates continue to decline throughout the southern hemisphere, we have our first official flu numbers from Europe. All 38 countries reporting show low influenza rates with a similar A/B distribution as in the United States. The number of tested specimens is still very low, meaning we may see an uptick as more individuals are tested, but, for now, all signs point to light influenza activity in the weeks to come. Staying Healthy As mentioned above, the most common strain is influenza A which can be almost fully protected against through this year’s flu shot. Don’t forget to get vaccinated this flu season, and remember it is never too late to receive your flu shot! Vaccines are available and in-stock at all Passport Health clinics, and the FluBlok vaccine is stocked as well. The FluBlok vaccine, made by Protein Sciences, is a very popular option, especially among our vegan clientele since it is preservative and egg-free. Learn more on our dedicated FluBlok page. 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 giving the latest updates influenza spread throughout flu season. It is posted every Wednesday from September to April and focuses on regional outbreaks, global spread and ways to avoid infection.