New Study Spotlights How Influenza Spreads

Science Daily reports that “people may more likely be exposed to the flu through airborne virus than previously thought.” The article cites a University of Maryland School of Public Health study that concluded “there are nearly nine times more influenza virus present in the smallest airborne droplets in the breath exhaled from those infected with flu than in the larger droplets that would be expected to carry more virus

Dr. Donald Milton, who directs the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health and led the study, states that “this has important implications for how we prevent the spread of flu.”

The CDC has long recommended that people with influenza wear surgical masks to prevent transmission of the virus. But the University of Maryland study is the first that provides data showing that mask use can reduce spread of even small exhaleddroplets containing a virus. “For this reason, health care facilities should put surgical masks on those suspect of having influenza, and individuals with influenza can protect their families by wearing a mask.”