Flu Report: Caribbean Sickness November 3, 2015 By Will Sowards Leave a Comment Influenza spread appears to be stable, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, one popular tourist destination within the U.S. has become the first region to experience high or moderate levels of influenza-like activity. 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 light week for the flu throughout the U.S. as only 124 clinical laboratory confirmed cases were reported. All fifty states report minimal influenza activity, but Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, South Carolina and Virginia do have a somewhat higher rate of influenza-like-illness. However, this statistic is not significant. Information from FluNearYou tracks with the CDC data, but it does indicate a slightly higher rate of self-reported illness in New England and California. So far this year, FluNearYou’s reporting and the percentage of positive specimens have been fairly similar to CDC reporting (usually only differing by a few tenths of a percent) making it possible we will see hot spots in those two areas. FluNearYou does rely on self-reporting, whereas CDC data is based on verified cases, making it a somewhat less reliable source of data, but valuable nonetheless. This week also had our first designation of moderate or high influenza activity in the United States. Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory located in the Caribbean, reports a moderate level of activity. The island is a popular destination for tourists, especially as we head into the winter months. If you are planning a trip to the territory, be sure to receive a flu shot before leaving. By The Numbers: In the United States, the CDC reported: Flu Cases (Laboratory Confirmed) – 124 (1.2% of specimens tested) Influenza A – 89 (71.8%) Influenza B – 35 (28.2%) 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 Much like in the U.S., influenza spread has either declined or stayed steady throughout the world, according to the World Health Organization. Even in areas that a month ago had over 1,000 confirmed cases per week, the average is now in the low hundreds. Only the Eastern Mediterranean region is demonstrating increased influenza activity, but this rate is still low for this time of year. Throughout the world, A strains continue to be the most prevalent with the majority of infections falling under the strains that can be prevented through vaccination. Staying Healthy The CDC recommends everyone take three key actions in order to avoid the flu: Get a flu vaccine Take everyday preventative measures such as washing your hands, disinfecting surfaces and avoiding touching your face. Take antiviral medications your doctor may prescribe to avoid spreading the flu further and helping create drug-resistance. Through these measures, we can all stay flu free throughout the year. 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.