Predicting Flu Dynamics

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Science  21 Apr 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5772, pp. 333
DOI: 10.1126/science.312.5772.333l

Taking influenza mortality data collected in the United States from 1972 to 2002 as a measure for seasonal influenza virus circulation and disease, Viboud et al. (p. 447, published online 30 March) investigated the synchrony of influenza epidemics across the United States. They found that severe epidemics were more synchronous than mild ones, and that work-related movement of people correlated with spread of infection better than long-distance travel or geographical distance between states. Adults were the primary transmitters of seasonal influenza, rather than children, as has been previously assumed. These findings have implications for the design of pandemic control strategies.

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