New model: Flu season will likely peak in February in US and could be a mild one

New model: Flu season will likely peak in February in US and could be a mild one

As per a new model, aiming to predict the flu in the United States this winter, in February, this flu season will probably be at peak and may be a mild one.

The model has used data from previous flu seasons and also from a mathematical representation of how influenza spreads in a population and the most recent data on the present flu season, for predicting how seasonal flu is going to pan out in the approaching months.

The new model suggested that the chances that the flu season will peak before January in most of the nation are less than 1%, and that there are less than 20% chances of it peaking in January.

For February, there is a 57% chance that flu season will be at peak. Dave Osthus, a researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory who leads the flu forecast project, said that if such a thing happens, it would be relatively late because all the past 3 flu seasons have peaked in December.

The new model has also predicted that the flu season is going to be mild, which means there will be lesser flu cases as compared to a typical flu season.

While speaking to Live Science, Osthus said, “The main reason for this prediction is that historically, earlier-peaking flu seasons have tended to be more intense... [and] later-peaking seasons tend to be more mild”.

However, Osthus has warned that there is a lot that scientists aren’t so far aware of predicting flu seasons, factors like holiday travel and the rate at which people get flu injections may alter the predictions. Osthus said that the researchers have decided to update their predictions in every 2 weeks in the 2015-2016 flu season and have been planning that they will access the performance of their model at the end of the flu season.

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