July 6, 2011

New Method For Predicting Size Of Seasonal Influenza Epidemics

Using weekly influenza surveillance data from the US CDC, Edward Goldstein and colleagues develop a statistical method to predict the sizes of epidemics caused by seasonal influenza strains. This method could inform decisions about the most appropriate vaccines or drugs needed early in the influenza season. The analyses, based on data collected by the CDC from 1997 through to 2009, suggests that early circulation of one influenza strain is associated with a reduced total incidence of other strains. It is likely that routine early-season surveillance data could be used to predict the relative size of the epidemics caused by each influenza strain in the USA and in other countries where sufficient surveillance data are available.


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