What’s recommended flu vaccine for next season?

Fujian strain included in vaccine 

Federal health officials have recommended that the 2004-05 trivalent influenza vaccine for the United States contain A/New Caledonia/20/99-like (H1N1), A/Fujian/411/2002-like (H3N2), and B/Shanghai/361/2002-like viruses.

Fujian was the variant strain that caused so much trouble last flu season. As the season progressed, A/Fujian/411/2002 (H3N2) viruses, which were antigenically distinguishable from the vaccine strain A/Panama/2007/99 (H3N2), became predominant, resulting in a less than optimal match. An initial study to assess the effectiveness of the 2003-04 influenza vaccine in health care workers did not demonstrate efficacy.

However, preliminary analyses of three additional unpublished studies of influenza vaccine effectiveness among children and adults in the United States were presented at the demonstrated vaccine effectiveness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports.1

During the 2003-04 influenza season, influenza activity in the United States began and peaked earlier than usual and was more severe than the previous three seasons. Moreover, a substantial number of laboratory-confirmed, influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported in the United States.

Because no similar national data were collected previously, whether this number of pediatric deaths represents a change from previous seasons is unknown. One modeling study estimated that, during 1990-1999, approximately 92 influenza-related deaths occurred annually among children younger than 5 years old.

In June 2004, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists voted to make pediatric influenza-associated deaths a nationally notifiable condition.

The CDC recommends that all children ages 6-23 months and close contacts of children ages 0-23 months receive annual influenza vaccination

Reference

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Update: Influenza activity — United States and worldwide, 2003-04 season, and composition of the 2004-05 influenza vaccine. MMWR 53; (25)547-552.