WHO Makes Flu Vaccine Recommendation

The World Health Organization (search) recommended Thursday that a new flu strain that emerged in Santa Clara County and two others be the target of next year's U.S. vaccine.

Each year, the organization attempts to predict which flu strains will be the most prevalent for the coming season. Its recommendations typically are used to create the version of the influenza vaccine (search) manufacturers will make.

The strain that emerged in Santa Clara County was confirmed last month by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (search). Dubbed a/California/7/2004 (H3N2), it may be responsible for 20 percent of U.S. flu cases, CDC spokesman Dave Daigle said.

The California strain is thought to be a variant of the predominant A/Fujian strain.

It was discovered in the fall by the Santa Clara County Health Department (search), which is one of hundreds of labs that aid in flu surveillance each year.

Scientists there shipped the new strain to the California Department of Health Services (search) after determining it didn't match any known strains. The state, in turn, shipped the sample to the CDC.

The World Health Organization develops its annual recommendation for the Northern Hemisphere after analyzing results from the 10,000 flu viruses collected by laboratories in 80 countries.

A Food and Drug Administration (search) committee is scheduled to meet next week to consider the organization's recommendations.