This research seems pretty important given the re-emergence of various swine flu strains passing from pigs to people in the USA.
It certainly suggests that medical workers should be vaccinated; many, perhaps most, in England, are not.
It also suggests that all pig workers and veterinarians must be vaccinated.
They don’t like “must” many of them, especially the veterinarians, unless they are the ones doing the insisting.
Maybe if they have such strong views they have to go and find another job, with a lot less responsibility?
Anyway, over to ferrets.
Full press release here
Flu is transmitted before symptoms appear, study suggestsResearch at Imperial College London examining influenza transmission in ferrets suggests that the virus can be passed on before the appearance of symptoms. If the finding applies to humans, it means that people pass on flu to others before they know they're infected, making it very difficult to contain epidemics.
The research was supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Imperial Biomedical Research Centre.
Knowing if people are infectious before they have symptoms is important to help authorities plan for an epidemic, but is has been difficult to establish this from data collected during outbreaks. Previous research using mathematical models estimated that most flu transmission occurs after the onset of symptoms, but some happens earlier...
...Professor Wendy Barclay, the study's lead author from the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London, said: "This result has important implications for pandemic planning strategies. It means that the spread of flu is very difficult to control, even with self-diagnosis and measures such as temperature screens at airports. It also means that doctors and nurses who don't get the flu jab are putting their patients at risk because they might pass on an infection when they don't know they're infected."
The flu strain used in the study was from the 2009 swine flu pandemic, which killed almost 300,000 people worldwide.
The researchers found that ferrets were able to pass on flu to others just 24 hours after becoming infected themselves. The animals did not suffer from fever until 45 hours after infection and began sneezing after 48 hours. The results are consistent with earlier studies which found that sneezing is not necessary to transmit flu – droplets of virus are expelled into the air during normal breathing....