MIAMI (CBS4) – A new study sheds some light on the behavior and patterns of influenza in children.

A panel of researchers, including experts from the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that the flu tends to predominantly spread from boys to other boys, and from girls to other girls, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Researchers also found that children are more likely to catch the flu from people sitting in their same class, but not necessarily from the person sitting right next to them.

Scientists studied the transmission of the influenza during a major H1N1 flu outbreak in a rural Pennsylvania community. The data from 370 children ages 6 to 18 were analyzed.

They found that children are three times more likely to pass the flu to children of the same gender. That’s likely because boys tens to play more with other boys, with the same scenarios applying to girls.

Transmission rates were five times higher between classmates who shared the same classroom, compared to children who were in the same grade but were in a different classroom.

The age of those infected were clearly divided as well. Children ages 6-10 had the highest infection rate, followed by children who were 5 and younger.

Scientists say the pattern in which the flu spreads in schools “could help us better understand whether and when it would be appropriate to close a school, or whether it might be better to close individual classes or grades,” Dr. Simon Cauchemez, the lead author of the study and a researcher at Imperial College London, said in a news release.

The study was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Source: The Los Angeles Times


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