Flu Report: 5 Year High March 9, 2016 By Will Sowards Leave a Comment Influenza activity rose again this week. In the context of the last five years, this week’s data shows an interesting trend. In The U.S.: Wondering about the flu in your community? Click here to view the full interactive Flu Near You map. The Centers for Disease Control is once again reporting increased influenza cases throughout the United States. Clinical laboratories verified 3,803 cases, or 17.6 percent of all specimens tested. Looking back on the last five years’ worth of data, we can see an interesting trend. Through week eight of all flu seasons from 2011 to today, the 2015-2016 flu season has the second least number of cases (27,244), behind only the 2011-2012 season (6,249). But, this year also has the highest rate of influenza-like-illness at 3.2 percent, 0.5 percent more than the next closest year (2013). On one hand, this is good news. Even with a higher infection rate, actual cases have remained low this season. But, the high ILI this late in the season may mean there is more flu to come. FluNearYou’s ‘flu-like symptoms’ metric has been slowly inching upward over the last few weeks, meaning CDC data will likely reflect a similar increase in the coming weeks. Seventeen states are reporting moderate to high ILI activity. The majority of states are also showing widespread activity (the highest level listed by the CDC). Only the southeastern United States shows reduced activity, but this metric is comes in at the ‘regional’ ranking which is the second-highest level. By The Numbers: In the United States, the CDC reported: Flu Cases (Laboratory Confirmed) – 3,803 (17.6% of specimens tested) Influenza A – 2,978 (78.3%) Influenza B – 825 (21.7%) Flu-Related Deaths (Percentage) – 6.7% (1.0% 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 Flu activity is generally down across the globe, according to the World Health Organization. Africa, the Mediterranean and Western Pacific had marked declines in flu activity over the last week of reporting. Europe was down slightly from the previous week, and it looks to be on the verge of a greater decline in the weeks to come. The Americas had an increase in cases. Although WHO reporting doesn’t break down by continent (i.e. North America, South America), it is likely the increasing flu cases in the United States affected this metric. Staying Healthy Flu cases are generally falling across the globe, but flu season in the Southern Hemisphere is just around the corner. Although you will not be able to receive a 2016-2017 flu shot before traveling south to events like the Rio Olympics, you can prepare today by receiving this year’s flu shot. Recent data suggests flu vaccination will protect against a given strain for multiple years. While the most commons strains change, being vaccinated against some strains will provide more protection than no vaccination at all. To learn more about flu vaccination, see our flu page. To learn more about traveling to the Rio Olympics, see our recent blog post. 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.