Flu Report: Late Arrival January 27, 2016 By Will Sowards Leave a Comment Six of the ten surveillance regions in the United States are showing elevated outpatient cases of influenza-like-illness, and flu cases once again are on the rise. Is this season’s peak just happening later than normal? In The U.S.: Wondering about the flu in your community? Click here to view the full interactive Flu Near You map. Once again, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics indicate a rise in influenza cases in the U.S. Total confirmed cases for the 2015 flu season are now over 4,000 with 565 of those coming from this past week alone. The percentage of positive specimens has also increased to just over four percent. These statistics may not indicate a significantly bad season, but rather one that has just shifted in timeframe, like the 2009-2010 season did. However, this data may mean a somewhat worse season than was initially anticipated. Initial estimates had this year as something similar to the 2011-2012 season, but it is more likely this year will end up as a middle ground between that year and the 2010-2011 year. What does this mean? ILI will likely be above the baseline but not significantly so; cases will be lower than average, but not very low; and mortality rate will remain below the epidemic threshold, or very near it. FluNearYou data appears to support this analysis as incidence of influenza-like-illness appears to be stable even as CDC data catches up with it. No states are currently showing high flu activity, three (Arizona, Maryland and South Carolina) show moderate activity, and 43 are experiencing minimal activity. We will keep readers posted on any significant changes in these areas. By The Numbers: In the United States, the CDC reported: Flu Cases (Laboratory Confirmed) – 565 (4.2% of specimens tested) Influenza A – 398 (70.4%) Influenza B – 167 (29.6%) Flu-Related Deaths (Percentage) – 6.5% (0.9% 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 activity globally was generally down over the last few weeks per the latest World Health Organization reports. While high levels of activity were reported in some Western Asian countries, activity was generally stable or down in most regions. More temperate countries, like those in the tropics, have experienced some uptick in cases, but 2015-2016 has been a generally light year. However, Northern and Eastern Europe show increased activity which may carry into the coming weeks. Staying Healthy While influenza may not seem like an issue in some areas of the world, getting your flu shot can be key to travel health. Areas that may not seem as likely to have increased activity, like Tahiti or the Western Pacific, are actually experiencing some increases in cases. Meanwhile, other regions like Northern Europe tend to be overlooked when it comes to travel health. Flu season underscores the importance of travel health. Before traveling this winter, be sure to get your flu shot, and visit your local travel health clinic to learn more about the travel health topics that may affect you during your upcoming trip. 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.