Influenza outbreaks related to behavioral changes in humans?

Now this is surely going to surprise all!! Human behavior, may be contributing to influenza outbreaks, say the researchers. A new study has highlighted that human behavior may have an influence on the epidemic of the waves of influenza.

The research study

Studies have shown that flu or influenza comes in multiple waves. In the year 1918, The Spanish flu one of the deadliest influenza pandemics, had affected Wales and England. This deadly influenza has been a matter of great interest for the McMaster University researchers. The 1918 influenza epidemic was depicted in a three wave shape, and the researchers investigated the factors via a simple epidemic model.

The study focus

These researchers focused a study on this and discovered that there were 3 main factors that affected the flu namely, temperature changes, closing and opening of the schools and then finally the most important the behavioral changes noted in human beings.

Change in behavior

Talking about these changes in human behavior, David Earn, an investigator with the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, and a professor in McMaster`s Department of Mathematics and Statistics, states “We found all three factors were important in 1918 but that behavioral responses had the largest effect.”

The three wave influenza model

The researchers had a different way about it. The model of the researchers stated that the three waves of influenza were explainable only when the people tapered down their contact with the infectious subjects at the times when the mortality rate due to influenza was high. For the study the change in behavior of humans was thus not measured directly.

The best way they said was to stay away from huge social gatherings and maintaining a safe distance from people. The researchers advised the people, to wash their hands on a regular basis.

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome

Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Britain and Italy has seen the deadly infection caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) but there is more to come. The researchers fear that the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), an emerging virus is even more deadly than the SARS.

MERS is a “threat to the entire world” says Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization, has called MERS a “threat to the entire world”.
The details of the study are published online in the Proceedings of the Royal Society.