This is the time of year that public health folks start watching the flu reports from the southern hemisphere.  We’re watching for a couple of things – the circulating strains and how it’s spreading.  The Australian Government Department of Health is reporting 6 times as many cases as they had at this time last season.  It could be an early season for them or it could be that it will end up being a blockbuster flu season for them.  The good news is that the circulating strains are all covered by the vaccine strains approved by the FDA last week –meaning that there aren’t any surprise strains going around (at least so far).  The H1N1 pandemic strain is dominant in Australia right now.