Flu Report: Are We There Yet? February 10, 2016 By Will Sowards Leave a Comment This week saw another big spike in flu cases. Could we finally be at the peak of the 2015-2016 flu season? In The U.S.: Wondering about the flu in your community? Click here to view the full interactive Flu Near You map. With 1,085 cases, week four was the most active of the 2015-2016 flu season. Many regions of the United States had a resurgence in influenza-like-illness, including two states with moderate activity (Arkansas and Connecticut), 11 states with low activity and 37 states with minimal activity. FluNearYou shows a similar level of spread but with a bit higher concentration along the West Coast. Despite these increases, pneumonia and influenza-related deaths have remained below the epidemic threshold, and pediatric deaths are at the lowest they have been since before the 2012-2013 season. Influenza-like-illness nationally is just barely above the national baseline while influenza spread is generally considered regional to sporadic across most of the United States. Despite this positive news, we have no indication that reported cases in week five will be any lower than they were in week four. It’s possible we have yet to reach peak flu season, but with FluNearYou reporting staying at around 3 percent, this seems to indicate flu cases are either stabilizing or dropping off. By The Numbers: In the United States, the CDC reported: Flu Cases (Laboratory Confirmed) – 1,085 (6.8% of specimens tested) Influenza A – 739 (68.1%) Influenza B – 346 (31.9%) Flu-Related Deaths (Percentage) – 7.0% (0.6% 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 Global influenza trends are consistent with what we saw last week with Africa nearing zero activity and infection rates in Europe still climbing. World Health Organization data suggests flu activity in Europe is similar to that which we are seeing in the United States and will likely peak soon. Strain distribution is similar in many regions as well, which is increased evidence of the 2015-2016 vaccine strains being very well matched to circulating viruses. Cases in the Americas have declined slightly while those in Southeast Asia are nearing the lowest rates seen yet. However, overall cases are up globally, though possibly for just a few more weeks. Staying Healthy As mentioned earlier, the most common influenza strains this season are in-line with the protection provided by the 2015-2016 influenza vaccine. When this is the case, vaccination is even more important, as it has an even higher likelihood of protecting you from the illness and keeping symptoms mild if you do become sick. Within the coming weeks, the World Health Organization should release its list of strains for the upcoming 2016-2017 flu season. When they do, we will let you know as soon as possible. Until then, feel free to schedule your 2016-2017 flu shot today at your local Passport Health clinic or have us come to you with an on-site flu clinic. 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.