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Boys tend to spread flu to other boys; girls to other girls

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UPDATE: The study is available here.


My four-year-old daughter has always had more boy friends than girl ones, and after hearing about new flu research today, I'm thinking it might not be such a bad thing if she sticks close to the boys. In a study involving 370 Pennsylvania elementary-school students, researchers found boys predominantly passed on H1N1 to other boys, and girls to other girls. From a release:

The results show that children are about three times more likely to transmit flu to children of the same gender than to children of the opposite gender. The researchers also found that the transmission rate is about five times higher between classmates than between children in a different class in the same grade, and about 25 times higher than between children in different grades. However, sitting next a child with flu does not significantly raise a child's risk of catching it.

The work is important, the researchers said, because the data could lead to models that help public-health officials better handle epidemics. "...These new models 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," lead author Simon Cauchemez, PhD, with the Imperial College London, said.

The study was published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It doesn't appear to be online now, but I'll include a link when it's up.

Previously: Modeling the spread of H1N1 flu
Via Booster Shots
Photo by editinghelpsite

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