Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Flu is Transmitted Before Symptoms Appear, Study Suggests

Published: Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Last Updated: Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Bookmark and Share
ICL researchers examine influenza transmission in ferrets.

Research 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.

The new study, published in the open access journal PLOS ONE, is the first to investigate this question experimentally in an animal model.

Ferrets are commonly used in flu research because they are susceptible to the same virus strains and show similar symptoms to humans.

Ferrets with flu were put in contact with uninfected ferrets for short periods at different stages after infection.

Transmission occurred before the first symptom, fever, appeared, both when the ferrets were in the same cage and when they were in adjacent cages.

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.

In the late stages of infection, after five or six days, flu was transmitted much less frequently, suggesting that people can return to work or school soon after symptoms subside with little risk of passing flu on to others.

The first author, Dr Kim Roberts, who is now based at Trinity College Dublin, said: "Ferrets are the best model available for studying flu transmission, but we have to be cautious about interpreting the results in humans. We only used a small number of animals in the study, so we can't say what proportion of transmission happens before symptoms occur. It probably varies depending on the flu strain."


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 5,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Blood Pressure Drug May Boost Effectiveness of Lung Cancer Treatment
Researchers at Imperial College London have suggested that the blood pressure drug may make a type of lung cancer treatment more effective.
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Feeding Babies Egg and Peanut May Prevent Food Allergy
The new analysis pools all existing data, and suggests introducing egg and peanut at an early age may prevent the development of allergy.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Dengue Vaccine May Increase Risk of Severe Disease
The world's only licensed vaccine for dengue may worsen subsequent dengue infections if used in areas with low rates of dengue infection.
Friday, September 02, 2016
Breast Milk Sugar Protect Newborns Against Meningitis
Research suggests breat milk sugar can protect against Group B streptococcus, a leading cause of meningitis.
Thursday, September 01, 2016
Breast Milk Sugar May Protect Babies Against Deadly Infection
Researchers from Imperial College London find that a sugar found in some women’s breast milk may protect babies against Group B streptococcus.
Friday, August 26, 2016
MRSA – Just Add Salt
Scientists have discoved a new way to attack Staphylococcus aureus through salt content mechanisms
Friday, August 19, 2016
Flu Vaccine May Reduce Death Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
New research suggests that a new flu vaccine may reduce probability of type 2 diabetes patients being hospitalised with stroke and heart failure.
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Zika Epidemic Likely to End Within Three Years
A team of scientists has predicted that the current Zika epidemic is likely to end within three years because there will be too few people left to infect.
Friday, July 15, 2016
Sound Waves May Hold Potential to Treat Twin Pregnancy Complications
Researchers at Imperial College London have found that the high energy sound waves could treat a potentially deadly complication that affects some twin pregnancies.
Friday, July 15, 2016
Viral hepatitis kills as Many as Malaria, TB or HIV/AIDS
Viral hepatitis is one of the leading killers across the globe, with a death toll that matches AIDS or tuberculosis.
Thursday, July 07, 2016
Supplement May Switch off Cravings for High-Calorie Foods
Researchers have found that inulin-propionate ester supplement curbs cravings for junk food.
Saturday, July 02, 2016
Dengue Virus Exposure May Amplify Zika Infection
Researchers at Imperial College London have found that the previous exposure to the dengue virus may increase the potency of Zika infection.
Friday, June 24, 2016
£14m EU Project To Aid Meningitis Diagnosis and Cut Antibiotic Use
An international team of doctors are aiming to develop a rapid test to allow medics to quickly identify bacterial infection in children.
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
New Bio-Glass Could Make it Possible to Re-Grow or Replace Cartilage
Researchers at Imperial College London have developed a material that can mimic cartilage and potentially encourage it to re-grow.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Gene Expression Controls Revealed
Researchers have modelled every atom in a key part of the process for switching on genes, revealing a whole new area for potential drug targets.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Scientific News
Point of Care Diagnostics - A Cautious Revolution
Advances in molecular biology, coupled with the miniaturization and improved sensitivity of assays and devices in general, have enabled a new wave of point-of-care (POC) or “bedside” diagnostics.
Mass Spec Technology Drives Innovation Across the Biopharma Workflow
With greater resolving power, analytical speed, and accuracy, new mass spectrometry technology and techniques are infiltrating the biopharmaceuticals workflow.
One Step Closer to Precision Medicine for Chronic Lung Disease Sufferers
A study led by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and National Jewish Health, has provided evidence of links between SNPs and known COPD blood protein biomarkers.
Blood Pressure Drug May Boost Effectiveness of Lung Cancer Treatment
Researchers at Imperial College London have suggested that the blood pressure drug may make a type of lung cancer treatment more effective.
Insight into Eye Diseases
Scientists recreate zebrafish cell regeneration from retinal stem cells in mice.
New Discovery May Benefit Farmers Worldwide
Scientists have shown how a crop-microbe 'team' protect against fungal infection.
Antibodies Paving the Way to HIV Vaccine
Researchers uncover factors responsible for the formation of broadly neutralizing HIV antibodies in humans.
Designing Drugs with a Whole New Toolbox
Researchers develop methods to design small, targeted proteins with shapes not found in nature.
Protein Studies Discover Molecular Secrets
Two protein studies have mapped proteins that reveal the secrets to recycling carbon and healing cells.
Tapping Evolution to Improve Biotech Products
Researchers show how 'ancestral sequence reconstruction' can be used to guide engineering of a blood clotting protein.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,000+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!