Flu Report: Green to Yellow December 9, 2015 By Will Sowards Leave a Comment Influenza is spreading further across the United States as 6 states now have low or moderate influenza-like-illness levels. But, confirmed cases remain low. In The U.S.: Wondering about the flu in your community? Click here to view the full interactive Flu Near You map. This week we are seeing a bit of a paradox in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly flu data. Confirmed influenza cases are still relatively low, with just 171 cases documented across the U.S., but two states and Puerto Rico are all experiencing moderate activity. How is this possible? The CDC’s confirmed cases report is based on clinical laboratory confirmed cases. In short, if you feel ill, visit your doctor, and are tested for the flu, you will be part of this number. However, not everyone who feels ill visits a doctor, and not every sick person is tested for influenza. Some doctors may look at an individual’s symptoms and diagnose him or her without a test. Emergency rooms, where many patients go, may not test at all. This means we need to look at another metric to fully understand what is happening, and that metric is outpatient influenza-like-illness, or ILI. ILI is defined as a fever of over 100 degrees and a cough or sore throat. Often, these factors indicate influenza but, as noted above, they may not lead to the person being tested for the virus. State and regional activity metrics are based on a combination of ILI, actual cases and other factors as defined by the CDC. What does this all mean? Current ILI is almost exactly the same as what this metric was in the 2014-2015 and 2013-2014 flu seasons, indicating we can expect a moderate to mild flu season this year. By The Numbers: In the United States, the CDC reported: Flu Cases (Laboratory Confirmed) – 171 (1.5% of specimens tested) Influenza A – 103 (60.2%) Influenza B – 68 (39.8%) Flu-Related Deaths (Percentage) – 5.9% (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 Most of the world has low to minimal influenza spread, according to World Health Organization data. The group’s most recent reporting for six global regions shows only Europe as having a notable increase in cases over the last week. Overall, cases are low in all areas of the world and especially in the Southern hemisphere. Staying Healthy It’s still not too late to get a flu shot! Even though we are getting further into December, it still isn’t too late to get your flu shot. Get protected as soon as possible to help make sure you are ready for potential peaks later in flu season. If you have a business, consider an on-site flu clinic for yourself and your co-workers to help keep your workplace flu free. 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.