Flu Report: Confirmed vs. Unconfirmed January 13, 2016 By Will Sowards Leave a Comment More evidence points to week 50 as having been the peak for confirmed flu cases, but we look at why influenza-like-illness metrics may mean the season isn’t over yet. In The U.S.: Wondering about the flu in your community? Click here to view the full interactive Flu Near You map. With nearly 250 cases this week, influenza is again down in the United States. An increasing amount of evidence points to week 50 as being the peak for this season in confirmed cases, possibly giving us a ‘by the numbers’ very light flu season. But, instances of influenza-like-illness (ILI) rose again. While this seems like a contradiction, it in fact isn’t at all. The CDC tracks two important metrics when it comes to influenza spread: ILI and confirmed cases. As we have noted before, confirmed cases are when a sample is sent to a laboratory to be tested and is confirmed to have the influenza virus. ILI, however, is based on the number of outpatient visits based on the patient having an ‘influenza-like-illness’. Therefore, a higher ILI may mean a few things, from more people catching colds but not the flu to this year’s influenza strain being lighter leading to few people being tested. Either way, all evidence points to the 2015-2016 season being very light except for in just a few regions of the United States. Puerto Rico, New Jersey and South Carolina are all experiencing high ILI activity while two other states (Maryland and Texas) are experiencing moderate activity. All other states are between low and minimal activity. By The Numbers: In the United States, the CDC reported: Flu Cases (Laboratory Confirmed) – 247 (1.8% of specimens tested) Influenza A – 157 (63.6%) Influenza B – 90 (36.4%) Flu-Related Deaths (Percentage) – 6.1% (1.2% 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 The World Health Organization is once again reporting diminished influenza spread in most global regions. The Eastern Mediterranean, South East Asia and Western Pacific show decreased flu levels, with influenza being almost non-existent in the Western Pacific areas. Western Europe is showing a slight increase in flu cases, but how significant this rise will be will likely not be known for a few weeks. All signs, however, point to only mild changes. Staying Healthy Europe’s slow uptick in flu cases is a reminder of the differences in health throughout the world. Different regions have different health issues, including increased incidence of some diseases or even infections that don’t exist in the United States. This makes travel health and travel immunizations important for even the most casual of trips. Learn more about how you can protect yourself before you next trip on our travel medicine portal. 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.