1 February 2011
Scientists from the US and UK have done some interesting research into how the flu virus is transferred between infected and non-infected primary school children.
The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that flu virus infection transmission appears to be sex specific, with boys more likely to infect boys and girls more likely to infect girls.
According to the scientists, not only was same sex transmission three times more likely than opposite sex transmission, but children in the same class were five times more likely to infect each other than children in different classes.
The research involved 370 pupils from 295 households and took into account school timetables, bus schedules and seating plans.
Dr Simon Cauchemez, who led the study, from the Medical Research Council's Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling at Imperial College London, said: "This is one of the most comprehensive studies to date on how a flu epidemic spreads between children in school."
"The data from this study will help us make more accurate models, which can help public health officials to handle epidemics effectively."
This week, the UK's health protection agency released figures showing that the number of GP consultations for flu-like symptoms in England and Wales fell from 124 per 100,000 people to just 40.7 per 100,000 people in the past month.
1 "Boys will infect boys, swine flu study shows". Imperial College London. Monday, January 31st 2011.
2 "Weekly flu report, 27 January 2011". Health Protection Agency. Thursday, January 27th 2011.
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