The Flu Report: Keeping Work Flu Free October 28, 2015 By Will Sowards Leave a Comment More good news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the World Health Organization keep us optimistic about the rest of this flu season, but a few small data points present some reason for concern. In The U.S.: Wondering about the flu in your community? Click here to view the full interactive Flu Near You map. It has been another slow week for influenza spread throughout the United States as less than 150 new laboratory tested cases were diagnosed. Although this figure is higher than what it was last week by about 15 percent, case counts remain low throughout the U.S. and across the globe. Data also indicates that the majority of infections are from influenza A strains that are vaccine preventable. However, there is some room for caution. Week-to-week data shows the 25-64 and 64-plus age groups to be the hardest hit by influenza. Luckily, however, these groups are also the most likely, and able, to receive influenza vaccination. As we have mentioned many times before, this year’s most common strains seem to be preventable through vaccination, but, if someone is not vaccinated, that person has a much higher likelihood of contracting the disease. Workers, such as the individuals in the 25-64 demographic, are more susceptible to the virus due to contact with co-workers or other individuals who may have become infected. These individuals may then spread the virus to loved ones who could in turn spread it further in schools, workplaces or other areas. It is important that all individuals, but especially those in this demographic, be vaccinated against influenza in order to protect those who may not be able to receive a vaccine. Despite this concern, influenza spread is continuing at a relatively low pace with less than one percent of FluNearYou users reporting flu-like symptoms and no CDC jurisdictions showing widespread activity. While we cannot state how long this low rate of infection may last, increased vaccination efforts should help to slow the spread. By The Numbers: In the United States, the CDC reported: Flu Cases (Laboratory Confirmed) – 138 (1.7% of specimens tested) Influenza A – 101 (73.2%) Influenza B – 37 (26.8%) Flu-Related Deaths (Percentage) – 5.6% (0.7% 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 While data suggests small increases in influenza activity in the U.S., global viral spread is at the lowest it has been in over a year with fewer than 1,000 laboratory tested cases. World Health Organization data indicates the majority of cases are occurring in the Eastern Mediterranean Region with some sporadic instances in the Americas and Europe. More country-specific data was not available for this week. Staying Healthy As stated above, workplace programs can help immensely in stopping the spread of influenza. On-site flu clinics, wellness programs and other initiatives can help keep workers and their families safe and avoid lost work hours. The U.S. government estimates that more than $6 billion is lost every year due to influenza spread and associated illness. If you are worried about your employees’ health, consider instituting a wellness program in your workplace or offering an on-site flu clinic. Bringing the flu shot to your employees can often be the first line of defense against the spread of influenza and other viruses. 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 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.