Although the CDC reports that flu activity "continues to decline across all key indicators," it is also important to keep in mind that there are plenty of signs that point to the fact that flu season is far from over, including that:
- all states are still reporting at least some flu activity
- nine states are still reporting widespread flu activity
- twenty-four states are still reporting regional flu activity
- only seventeen states are reporting local and sporadic flu activity
- Google Flu Trends is still reporting a high level of flu activity
- six new flu-related deaths were reported to the CDC in the past week, increasing the total to 87 for this year's flu season
Of course, this means that it isn't too late to get a flu vaccine and get protected for the rest of this year's flu season.
In other flu news, the World Health Organization and the FDA have made recommendations for the composition of next year's flu vaccines. The trivalent flu vaccine will contain an A/California/7/2009-like (2009 H1N1) virus, an A/Victoria/361/2011 (A/Texas/50/2012) virus, and a B/Massachusetts/2/2012-like (B/Yamagata lineage) virus. The newer quadrivalent flu vaccine will also contain an additional B/Brisbane/60/2008-like (B/Victoria lineage) virus.
In addition to the fact that the quadrivalent vaccine will be available next year, that also means that the trivalent flu vaccines will include two new flu virus strains. Remember that a quadrivalent flu vaccine will target four strains of flu virus, offering broader protection than the current trivalent vaccines, which just protect against three.