Flu season is winding down — What did we learn?

Dr. Michael Jackson gives a late-season report on state and national influenza patterns and his Flucaster prediction model.

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Dr. Michael Jackson’s Flucaster for April 13, 2018.

Flucaster performance

Back in October, our Flucaster — a computer model to forecast flu season timing and severity — predicted that Washington’s 2017–2018 influenza season would start with a wave of A(H1N1) viruses, peaking in January, followed by a smaller wave of influenza B. Although the season did have some circulation of A(H1N1) viruses, most of the first wave was A(H3N2) viruses. Enough A(H3N2) viruses had been seen by December 5, 2017 that our Flucaster started predicting some A(H3N2) cases. By December 18, the Flucaster predicted that A(H3N2) would be the dominant virus for the season. In addition, we did see a second wave of B viruses, as predicted, but the B wave was roughly twice as large as we originally predicted.

What’s next?

My research group will continue to track influenza globally, all year long. Over the next months, we’ll keep an eye on the U.S. situation and turn our attention to the Southern Hemisphere, where flu season is just starting. We’ll keep feeding data into the Flucaster and work to improve the model.


KP Washington Health Research Institute

Written by

We are Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI). This is the home of our Healthy Findings blog. https://www.kpwashingtonresearch.org

KP Washington Health Research Institute

Written by

We are Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI). This is the home of our Healthy Findings blog. https://www.kpwashingtonresearch.org

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