Flu Report: Nearing the Peak December 2, 2015 By Will Sowards Leave a Comment Influenza spread has dropped from last week’s CDC reporting, but annual data could mean we are getting closer to the season’s peak. In The U.S.: Wondering about the flu in your community? Click here to view the full interactive Flu Near You map. The number of confirmed influenza cases dropped from nearly 200 to 120 over the last week of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported data. During this same timeframe, influenza or pneumonia related deaths did increase, but they are still below the epidemic threshold by a few tenths of a percent, and this statistic is near the seasonal baseline. But, how long will these lows continue? Annual data suggests influenza case rates tend to begin increasing between week 45 and 50 (November) and peak between week 52 and week 5 of the next year (late December to early February). With this in mind, we can expect to see an increase in reports of influenza-like-illness in the United States and across the world. FluNearYou’s reporting does indicate a slight uptick for this week (49) which we could see increase further as we start into the worst part of the flu season. However, less than two percent of users are currently reporting flu-like symptoms, indicating we may have a lighter few weeks ahead as CDC data catches up with user real-time reporting. But, FluNearYou is still showing an increase in cases in New England, and the CDC upgraded New York City to a higher level of activity (though it still shows as minimal) from the previous week. By The Numbers: In the United States, the CDC reported: Flu Cases (Laboratory Confirmed) – 120 (1.1% of specimens tested) Influenza A – 58 (48.3%) Influenza B – 62 (51.7%) Flu-Related Deaths (Percentage) – 6.0% (0.4% 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 Influenza rates remain down throughout most of the world. Cases seem to have peaked around mid-October or earlier in the case of the Southern Hemisphere. That being said, previous years’ data indicates peaks are generally around mid- to late January meaning we may see increases in the coming weeks. However, as has been noted previously, this year’s strains fall almost entirely under the protection of the flu vaccine. In areas with high vaccination rates (such as some parts of Europe) we may see a decrease in influenza cases. Staying Healthy Temperatures are plunging throughout the United States as we move closer to the official start of winter. While many studies have shown that you cannot contract the flu or a cold from chilly weather, a recent report showed cold weather does make it easier for influenza to spread. Don’t forget to wash your hands after you cough or sneeze, before you eat and after using the restroom. Influenza can survive on surfaces for hours, even if they look dry or otherwise clean, and this is especially true in cold weather. Also, don’t forget your flu shot to help yourself and your family stay as protected as possible. 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.