15192933-illustration-depicting-a-roadsign-with-a-flu-concept-white-backgroundA new study led by Sherry Towers, PhD (Physics), MS (Applied Statistics), of Purdue University finds a causative relationship to explain why warm winters have been followed by early and severe flu seasons from 1977-78 to the present.  The conclusion is that fewer persons are infected with the flue virus during warm winters, thereby leaving an unnaturally large fraction of individuals who’ve developed no recent immunity and are unusually susceptible during the next flu season.

During an interview with Science Daily, Towers said, “It appears that fewer people contract influenza during warm winters, and this causes a major portion of the population to remain vulnerable into the next season, causing an early and strong emergence.

“And when a flu season begins exceptionally early, much of the population has not had a chance to get vaccinated, potentially making that flu season even worse.

Vaccinations remain the best tool for combating the flu.

Sources:  Think Positive, January 29, 2013     Study published in Epidemiology, January 28, 2013   Study funded by Multinational Influenza Seasonal Mortality Study, led by the Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health


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