Swine Flu Spreads Through Social Groups, Study Finds
PENNSYLVANIA — A new study surveying the spread of swine flu at a school in Pennsylvania has found that the epidemic spread through networks of friends. Children did not catch the flu by sitting next to an infected classmate, and adults were not usually infected by their own children.
Data from 370 students and 295 households was collected during the study, The New York Times reports. Class and grade structure at the school had a large effect on transmission rates of the flu; fourth graders were more affected by the epidemic.
The study found that students were four times more likely to play with children of the same sex. Because of this, boys mainly caught the flu from other boys and girls caught the flu from other girls.
The school shut down on day 18 of the outbreak, but researchers found that this did not slow transmission rates of the flu. They concluded that in order to slow the spread, a school must be closed very early in the epidemic to have any effect.
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