Flu Report: Influenza Rising January 21, 2016 By Will Sowards 1 Comment Despite what looked like a standard flu season peak, the most recent data from the CDC shows we may just now be getting to the worst of this flu season. In The U.S.: Wondering about the flu in your community? Click here to view the full interactive Flu Near You map. Week 50 was not the peak of this year’s flu season, as many had previously thought based on CDC data. The most recent data set, covering Jan. 3-9, shows another jump in cases in various regions of the United States. This includes a new high for percentage of cases tested for the flu coming back positive at 3.0 percent. Case rates have been fairly evenly spread throughout age groups with people 0-4 years old having the fewest cases and 25-64 the highest number. But, pneumonia and influenza related deaths have continued to decline during this time, possibly because of the lower infection rates for the under 4 and over 65 demographics. This may also mean the strains we are seeing this year are less fatal or those most at risk were sure to seek out vaccination before peak flu season hit. FluNearYou and CDC reporting is nearly identical at this point with the average coming in at just under two percent. This is below the national baseline and the lowest we have seen for ILI at this time of the year since the 2011-2012 season, a year that had a record low ILI rate. Despite these good signs, South Carolina and Puerto Rico are still experiencing a high level of ILI activity while all 49 other states are rated at low to minimal activity. At this point, predicting the coming weeks is extremely difficult, but it is recommended everyone take precautions to avoid the flu including washing your hands and receiving a flu shot, if you have not done so already. By The Numbers: In the United States, the CDC reported: Flu Cases (Laboratory Confirmed) – 428 (3.0% of specimens tested) Influenza A – 292 (68.2%) Influenza B – 136 (31.8%) Flu-Related Deaths (Percentage) – 5.8% (1.5% 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 spread has remained more or less stable throughout the globe over the last week. According to World Health Organization reporting, the European region was the only WHO region to have a significant increase in influenza cases. The WHO’s reporting is not specific as to the countries that had the highest increase, but it does underline the need for flu vaccination before travel. Asia and the Pacific saw another decline in cases, possibly indicating the end of the flu season for those areas until later on this year. This also means we will likely hear which strains will be in the 2016-2017 flu shot within the coming months. We will pass on the information as soon as it becomes available. Staying Healthy Flu spread in the United States seems to be in flux, but it may rise in the coming weeks. Be sure to take all the precautions you can to avoid influenza including: Wash your hands regularly Try to avoid close contact with sick individuals Be sure to receive a flu shot if you have not done so already If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. These simple methods are important for preserving your own health and will help people around you. 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.