In a new study, researchers have figured out how the flu spreads from child to child at school.
(I can’t decide if this story is interesting or Duh!!? You decide.)
“The latest science shows that flu predominantly spreads from boys to other boys and from girls to other girls. The study, conducted by a consortium of researchers that included experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also found that flu transmission is more intensive within students sitting in the same class. But sitting next to someone with the flu doesn’t, in itself, increase one’s risk.”
“The scientists examined flu spread among 370 children, ages 6 to 18, during a major H1N1 flu outbreak in a rural Pennsylvania community. The goal was to look at how social networks control flu spread.”
“Children are about three times more likely to pass the flu to children of the same gender, the researchers found. That’s probably because boys tend to mix with boys and girls with girls. Transmission rates were five times higher between classmates compared with children in a different class but in the same grade. Children ages 6 to 10 had the highest infection rate, followed by children age 5 and younger.”
I think the fact that kids pass it to the same gender makes sense because Duh that’s who they play with. I also think that the kids 6 to 10 having the higher infection rate is also a no-brainer because they are in school with a bunch of kids.
However, the lead author of the study thinks it can really be useful:
“Tracking just how flu spreads, ‘could help us better understand whether and when it would be appropriate to close a school, or whether it might be better to close individual classes or grades,’ Dr. Simon Cauchemez, the lead author of the study and a researcher at Imperial College London, said in a news release. School closings are considered useful for controlling the spread of flu during a pandemic but create a fair amount of inconvenience and upheaval for school officials and families.”
So what do you think: Does this study surprise you or make perfect sense? Would you make any changes with your child and school based on this info if you heard the flu was spreading quickly through your school?