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It’s Flu Season in the Northern Hemisphere – Tips and Resources to Protect Against Influenza

December 06, 2016

Seasonal influenza, commonly referred to as “the flu,” is caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs, and can cause severe and life-threatening illness in many people. It is spread from person to person through virus-infected droplets from coughing, sneezing, influenza-contaminated surfaces, high-touch objects and hands.

In the U.S., five to 20 percent of the population, on average, contracts the flu each year. In Europe, between 10 and 30 percent of the population becomes infected.

Annual epidemics are estimated to result in approximately 3 million to 5 million cases of severe illness and about 250,000 to 500,000 deaths worldwide, with about 90 percent of flu-related deaths occurring in people over 65 years old.

Ecolab has been active in helping customers prepare for the flu season and will monitor developments through our global influenza surveillance capabilities.

Summary of Situation

Several countries in the Northern Hemisphere are reporting low levels of influenza or flu-like illnesses.

  • The WHO is reporting low levels of influenza in the Northern Hemisphere, including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Germany, France, Japan and the U.K. 
  • China is currently reporting elevated levels of influenza.
  • Public health officials cannot predict the severity of the 2016/17 flu season at this time. 
  • Fifty-two week trend patterns for more than 50 countries can be accessed here.

Recommendations to Protect Against the Flu

  • The WHO, the U.S. CDC, the European CDC, the Public Health Agency of Canada and other public health agencies are consistent with their recommendations, including:
    • An annual flu shot
    • Washing hands frequently with soap and water
    • Using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
    • Cleaning and disinfecting hard surfaces and high-touch objects with products effective against the influenza virus
    • Thoroughly washing dishes, glassware and utensils
    • Covering mouth and nose with a tissue or elbow when coughing or sneezing
    • Social distancing and avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth  

How Ecolab Can Help


Kate Askew
Director, Corporate Communications
Phone: +41 78 655 3005 or by email

For non-media related inquiries,
call +41 44 877 2000

Naazi Feizi
Communications Director, MEA Region Head
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For non-media related inquiries,
call +41 44 877 2000

Eddnell Villena
Communications Manager
Phone: +65 9823 8652
Email: eddnell.villena@ecolab.com

Abigail Lee
Communications Specialist
Phone: +82 10 3338 5166
Email: abigail.lee@ecolab.com

Miki Toyama
Communications Manager
Phone: +81 70 3617 5593
Email: miki.toyama@ecolab.com

Carrie-Ann Jefferies
Senior Communications Specialist
Phone: +61 418 518 903
Email: carrie-ann.jefferies@ecolab.com

Doris Qian
Corporate Communications Manager
Phone: +8621 6183 2465 or by email

For non-media related inquiries,
call +8621 6183 2500

Roman Blahoski
Director, Global Communications

Mesa Denny
Director, Global Communications

Phone: +1 651 250 4724 or by email

Alejandro González d’Hyver de las Deses
Communications Manager, Latin America
Phone: +52 (55) 5001 2935 or by email

Carolina Simonetti
Communications Manager, Brasil
Phone: +55 11 2134 2649 or by email

Valeria Prado
Communications Director, Latin America
Phone: +1 954 436 2668 or by email