Thus, researchers need to cover a lot of ground before they can make accurate influenza forecasts and give health officials detailed strategies. "We have a ton of work left to do," Shaman said. "These forecasts are in their infancy."
Right now, the CDC has no methods in place to forecast influenza outbreaks, according to Skinner. "Each season is unpredictable," he said. "They are unique in and of themselves."
But by tracing enough variables, scientists like Shaman and Towers hope to get a better handle on the infection and give better advice to the public. "It seems prudent that if you've had a really mild winter and mild flu [season], then the following season, get vaccinated earlier," Towers said.
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500