Navigation Links
Behavior change may have the greatest influence on waves of influenza outbreak: McMaster study

Hamilton, ON (July 9, 2013) - Three waves of the deadliest influenza pandemic in history, known as the Spanish flu, hit England and Wales in 1918, just as World War 1 was coming to an end.

Why flu arrives in multiple waves like this is the focus of a study by McMaster University researchers who discovered three contributing factors: the closing and opening of schools, temperature changes and most importantly changes in human behavior.

"We found all three factors were important in 1918 but that behavioural responses had the largest effect," said David Earn, an investigator with the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, and a professor in McMaster's Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

The study appears in the July 10 online issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society.

The researchers did not measure behavioural change directly; instead, their model showed that the three waves could only be explained if people reduced infectious contact rates when recent influenza mortality was high. Possible mechanisms include avoiding large gatherings, keeping distance from other people, and hand-washing.

The study's findings are significant as global health officials keep watch on an emerging virus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which is said to be more deadly than Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and has already spread from Saudi Arabia to France, Germany, Italy and Britain. Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization, has called MERS a "threat to the entire world".

To investigate factors underlying the three-wave shape of the 1918 influenza epidemic, McMaster researchers developed what they describe as a simple epidemic model. It incorporates three factors in addition to natural disease spread: school terms, temperature changes during an outbreak and changes in human behavior.

To collect information, researchers scoured available historical documents and collected data about weekly influenza deaths.

The paper concludes that behavioral changes of people, temperature trends and school closure all contributed to the three-wave mortality patterns in the UK during the 1918 influenza pandemic with behavioral changes having the greatest effect.

Earn conducted the study with his colleague Dr. Jonathan Dushoff, associate professor, Department on Biology, and researchers at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Queen's University and the University of Victoria.


Contact: Veronica McGuire
McMaster University

Related medicine news :

1. After the shooting, political violence lives on in kids behavior problems
2. Dog Behavioral Expert Talks on Current Research in OCD Dogs
3. Scientists at UMass Medical School identify neurons that control feeding behavior in Drosophila
4. Deep Brain Stimulation Could Help Change Eating Behaviors in Morbidly Obese Patients
5. hCGTreatments / Diet Doc hCG Diets & Weight Loss Plans Announce New Programs That Create Positive Changes in Behavior and Lead to Best Weight Loss
6. Predicting risky sexual behavior
7. Passages Malibu Celebrates National Prevention Week and Promotes Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Awareness
8. Poor Parenting Styles Linked to Bullying Behavior in Kids
9. Porn Use Has Small Effect on Sexual Behavior, Study Finds
10. Sexually explicit material affects behavior in young people less than thought
11. Anti-smoking ads with strong arguments, not flashy editing, trigger part of brain involving behavior change
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... Protein is essential to ... including muscle, bone, and blood. But how much protein does the average man need ... might seem, according to the October 2015 issue of Harvard Men's Health Watch ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... T-System and Centegra ... than 59,000 emergency department visits per year, today announced the successful and rapid ... improve clinical, operational and financial outcomes. , In less than four ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... FL (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... the Driveway Snow Blanket, a snow melting invention that helps people in clearing snow ... billion and will continue to grow at 3.8% per year," says Scott Cooper, CEO ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... Thermi, ... the newest professional to introduce the latest development, ThermiVa® temperature controlled radiofrequency to ... leading professional in Obstetrics and Gynecology and a pioneer in the field of ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... Orlando, FL (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2015 ... ... looking for smoke-free communities, and the Florida Apartment Association (FAA) has partnered with ... help apartment communities meet the demand. , The FAA Smoke-Free Multifamily Housing ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2015)... , Oct. 12, 2015  MiMedx Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... human amniotic tissue and patent-protected processes to develop and ... Surgical, Orthopedic, Spine, Sports Medicine, Ophthalmic, and the Dental ... for the third quarter of 2015, its guidance for ... has secured a $50 million Senior Secured Credit Facility. ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... Okla. , Oct. 12, 2015  Millions of ... free from the shackles of tobacco. An April ... at Kings College London showed electronic cigarettes to be ... smoking. But more than a decade after the technology ... it remained unchanged.    --> ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... NEW YORK , Oct. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... devices used to improve and enhance the quality ... injectors comprise chemical substances (contrast media) used in ... imaging, and angiography. These devices allow the radiologists ... normal and abnormal conditions of the body. Contrast ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: