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 3,300+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,900+ 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

Flu Vaccine May Reduce Risk of Death For Type 2 Diabetes Patients
Researchers at Imperial College London have suggested that the vaccine may have substantial benefits for patients with long-term conditions.
Tuesday, July 26, 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
Crucial Reaction for Vision Revealed
Scientists have tracked the reaction of a protein responding to light, paving the way for a new understanding of life's essential reactions.
Monday, May 16, 2016
Scans Reveal Babies of Mothers with Gestational Diabetes Have More Body Fat
Researchers at Imperial College London have found that the babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes have more body fat at two months of age compared to babies born to healthy mothers.
Saturday, May 14, 2016
The Brain on LSD: New Scans Show How the Drug Affects the Brain
Researchers at Imperial College London have visualised the effects of LSD on the brain.
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Cost of Diabetes Hits 825 Billion Dollars a Year
The global cost of diabetes is now 825 billion dollars per year, according to the largest ever study of diabetes levels across the world.
Thursday, April 07, 2016
World's Obese Population Hits 640 Million
More than one in ten men and one in seven women across the globe are now obese, according to the world's biggest obesity study.
Friday, April 01, 2016
Scientific News
Breakthrough Flu Vaccine Inhibited by Pre-existing Antibodies
Universal truths – how existing antibodies are sabotaging the most promising new human flu vaccines.
Gene Therapy for Metabolic Liver Diseases
Researchers have tested gene therapy in pigs from hereditary tyrosinemia type 1, with corrected liver cells being transplanted into the diseased liver.
Zika Vaccine Candidates Show Promise
Two experimental vaccines have shown promise against a major viral strain responsible for the Brazilian Zika outbreak.
New Medication Shows Promise Against Liver Fibrosis in Animal Studies
Liver fibrosis is a gradual scarring of the liver that puts people at risk for progressive liver disease and liver failure.
Raw Eggs Deemed Safe to Eat
A report published today by the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF) into egg safety has shown a major reduction in the risk from salmonella in UK eggs.
Monitoring TTX Toxin in Shellfish
In a number of small studies, mussels and oysters from the eastern and northern part of the Oosterschelde in Holland were found to contain tetrodotoxin (TTX).
Gene Terapy for Muscle Wasting Developed
New gene therapy could save millions of people suffering from muscle wasting disease.
NIH Begins Yellow Fever Vaccine Trial
NIH has initiated an early-stage clinical trial of a vaccine to protect against yellow fever.
Gene-Editing 'Toolbox' Targets Multiple Genes Simultaneously
Researchers have designed a system that modifies, or edits, multiple genes in a genome at once while minimising unintentional effects.
Detecting Alzheimer's with Smell Test
Odour identification test may offer low-cost alternative for predicting cognitive decline and detecting early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.
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
3,300+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,900+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!