14:29 03 September 2012
A recent study has confirmed that humans can actually pass the flu virus to people around them without them knowing it.
This is because the flu virus can be transmitted and can be expelled into the air through normal breathing, even before the carrier notices any symptoms.
The research was led by Professor Wendy Barclay from Imperial College, London, who used ferrets as models as they are as susceptible to the virus as humans, and show the same symptoms.
Ferrets were placed next to healthy animals before, during, and after they showed symptoms of flu.
It was later confirmed that the transmission takes place even before symptoms showed.
Prof Barclay told the Mail Online: “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.”
In light of this discovery Prof John Oxford, of Royal London Hospital, urged the public to get vaccinated to prevent catching flu and later on, transmitting it to people around them.
Prof Barclay added that doctors and nurses in particular must get the vaccine to avoid putting their patients at risk.
The research was published on Journal PLOS ONE, and online journal, and is supported by National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Imperial Biomedical Research Centre.
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