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Children more likely to catch swine flu, says new research
Date:12/30/2009

Young people aged under 18 years are more likely than adults to catch swine flu from an infected person in their household, according to a new study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine. However, the research also shows that young people are no more likely than adults to infect others with the pandemic H1N1 virus.

In the study, by scientists at the MRC Centre for Outbreak Analysis & Modelling at Imperial College London and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the USA, the researchers analysed data collected by CDC from 216 people believed to be infected with the swine flu virus, or 2009 H1N1, and 600 people living in their households, to determine how age, symptoms, number of people in a household and length of time after symptoms are first reported affect how easily people transmit the virus to one another.

The study suggests that it may be unnecessary for patients to stay at home for longer than four days after they start to have symptoms. It reveals that the average length of time between one person displaying the first symptoms of flu and someone else in their household having symptoms is 2.6 days.

At the start of the current pandemic, CDC advised patients to stay at home for seven days, but it has since revised these guidelines to 24 hours after the end of fever (without the use of fever-reducing medications), which is supported by the new research findings.

Dr Simon Cauchemez, lead author of the paper from the MRC Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling at Imperial College London, said: "At the start of the current flu pandemic we didn't know how different factors affected the risk of transmitting the virus to other people. If we are advising people to stay at home if they develop flu-like symptoms, we need to understand the implications this might have for other household members. Our new research helps us to do this for example it shows that children are more at risk of
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Contact: Lucy Goodchild
lucy.goodchild@imperial.ac.uk
44-078-038-86248
Imperial College London
Source:Eurekalert

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