Social distancing ‘effective for minimizing flu risk’

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SHAFAQNA – In early January, the Centers for Illness Manage and Prevention (CDC) revealed that the present flu season had already reached the threshold for epidemic status, with a important enhance in flu activity across the US in space of 1 week and 15 youngster deaths from the virus so far.

In their report released last week, the CDC revealed that the high flu activity is most likely down to low vaccine effectiveness this season’s flu vaccine only reduces a person’s threat of visiting a medical doctor due to the virus by 23%.

The organization says this is mainly due to the fact about 70% of this year’s H3N2 viruses – the predominant influenza viruses – are “drift variants,” which are these that possess antigenic or genetic alterations that make them distinctive from the virus integrated in this season’s flu vaccine, meaning the vaccine’s effectiveness is decreased.

Due to the fact of the vaccine’s low overall performance, the CDC urge all people at higher risk of flu-related complications – such as young children and the elderly – to seek additional prevention and treatment measures against influenza.

In this newest study, lead author Michael Springborn, of the University of California-Davis, and his group state that non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) – prevention or treatment tactics that do not involve the use of medication – could be hugely successful for staving off flu in an epidemic.

In certain, the researchers say “social distancing” – staying indoors and avoiding social interaction with other men and women – may well be important to reducing the spread of infection.

To attain their conclusion, Springborn and his group assessed data on dwelling tv viewing for the duration of the 2009 swine flu outbreak in Mexico City. According to Springborn, tv viewing information “hugely correlates with time spent in the house,” so it is a very good measure of social interaction.

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In an attempt to include the outbreak, brought on by the A/H1N1 virus, the Mexican government adopted social distancing measures, which involved college, shop, museum and theater closures, as nicely as ordering people to quit kissing and shaking hands.

Making use of the television viewing information, the team assessed the effectiveness of social distancing controls in minimizing the spread of flu.

According to the researchers, such controls appeared to be a “crucial issue in containing the initial wave” of swine flu in Mexico City. The team estimated that if these social distancing controls were not adopted, then the price of flu transmission would have been a great deal larger.

Having said that, Springborn says the group identified a “rebound impact,” meaning social distancing controls were successful at the start off of the flu outbreak, but persons quickly started to invest much less time in their residences.

“This suggests that efforts to make use of social distancing to mitigate disease spread may possibly have a restricted window of efficacy, i.e., before pent up-demand for activities outside the residence requires precedence,” he adds.

The group located that people of a greater socioeconomic status and children were most most likely to adhere to the social distancing controls, as indicated by the elevated quantity of time they commit watching Television in the course of the flu outbreak.

They explain that this may perhaps be simply because people today with a lower socioeconomic status are much more likely to be topic to variables that make staying indoors difficult, such as much less flexibility with functioning hours. “If this hypothesis had been tested and verified, it would recommend the prospective for targeting of social distancing policies to facilitate self-protective measures for low socioeconomic level people,” say the researchers.

General, the researchers say their findings show that responses to social distancing controls through flu outbreaks “clearly impact the course of disease.” They conclude:

“Results recommend that A/H1N1 had an innate transmission potential higher than previously thought but this was masked by behavioral responses. Observed variations in behavioral response across demographic groups indicate a prospective benefit from targeting social distancing outreach efforts.”

Though social distancing controls could reduce the spread of flu, the researchers note that other variables such as hand washing and wearing face masks are also productive.

Written by Honor Whiteman

Source : http://www.theinsiderreview.com/health/social-distancing-effective-for-minimizing-flu-risk-h2991.html

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