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Pairing masks and hand washing could drastically slow spread of pandemic flu
Date:1/31/2012

M residence halls. The students were assigned to groups who wore masks, wore masks and practiced hand hygiene, or did neither. They were monitored for the presence of flu symptoms or the flu.

The study was the first to test the effectiveness of these measures for primary prevention before people become sick or exhibited symptoms in the university setting, Monto said.

"Ultimately, this research could help the development of national policies for pandemic preparedness," Monto said.

The goal of M-Flu was to estimate the reduction in rate of flu infection and illness attributed to masks and hand sanitizers, and masks alone during two flu seasons. The results in year two were similar to year one with substantial reductions in flu-like symptoms. Students in both studies were asked to wear masks in the residence halls for six hours per day and clean their hands with an alcohol based hand sanitizer in addition to soap and water hand washing.

The group is planning another study involving campus residence halls, this time to evaluate the effect of voluntary sequestration on the flu in residence halls. Details and a timeline for that study are not available yet.

The M-Flu study was a collaboration among the School of Public Health, University of Michigan Housing and the University Health Service. In addition to Aiello and Monto, authors include current students or graduates of the U-M SPH: Rebecca Coulborn, Brian Davis, and Vanessa Perez; and a colleague at Wayne State University, Monica Uddin. The paper, "Facemasks hand hygiene and influenza among young adults: A randomized intervention trial" is scheduled to appear in PLoS ONE on Jan. 25


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Contact: Laura Bailey
baileylm@umich.edu
734-647-1848
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert

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