New predictions for H1N1 activity
There's a very interesting new paper in BMC Medicine that uses sophisticated modeling to predict influenza activity for the upcoming flu season. Here is what the model predicts for the US:
- The peak of flu activity will occur between late September and early November
- At the peak of the epidemic, 1% of the population (3 million people) will become infected daily
- By October 15, the US will have had 5-30 million cases of influenza
- Each person infected with influenza will infect on average 1.75 other people
Unfortunately, the model predicts that the arrival of the H1N1 vaccine will be too late to have a great effect on the epidemic. However, the model also predicts that if 30% of cases could be treated with antivirals, the peak of the epidemic could be shifted forward in time by about 4 weeks, in which case the vaccine would have a much greater impact.
We'll know soon how accurately the model predicted reality.