February predicted as peak of flu season
This forecast model takes into account all known strains of influenza, regardless of severity, but does not pinpoint or highlight areas likely to be hardest hit. In addition, the forecast models call for a season of usual or average duration, but it suggests that the duration of flu season results from factors that are impossible to predict.
Significant, too, is the fact the report includes what are called influenza-like illnesses (ILI), which mimic the flu in duration and intensity but are not medically classified as influenza. Forecasting predictors such as ILI are especially difficult.
“Forecasting the 2015-2016 flu season allows us to do prospective forecasting, which means we’re forecasting the flu season without yet knowing what will happen,” Dave Osthus, the project's lead investigator, said.
There is potential that the upcoming flu season may vary widely in terms of intensity, duration and the strains of influenza that will prominently affect citizens.
A key point is for citizens to closely monitor their health, reporting flu symptoms and ILI to medical personnel. Prompt care and reporting helps track regions stricken with influenza, as well as help citizens in such areas prevent and shorten illness.