Join Date: Aug 2005
Bikes: one Recumbent and one Utility Bike
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Spread of Flu and Commuting Distance
In this week's Science magazine there is an article that seems to me to say that, of the factors in the spread of flu that the authors tested, county to county workflow (commuting) is the most significant in spreading flu across the country.
Apparently the intercounty workflow is a more important factor than air-travel, long distance travel and distance.
In thinking about my local experiences, it seems logical that if people live closer to their work then it is less likely that they'd spread the flu to someone in a different city. For example, I've worked with people in Virginia who live in Baltimore MD. If that weren't so common, the transmission of flu from Virginia to Baltimore would slow. This is a public health aspect of car-free living that I hadn't thought of before. When more people live closer to work, cross country spread of a deadly disease is slowed. This slowing could give a country time to ramp up vaccine production couldn't it?
It is interesting that the origination of flu pandemics is consistently in California.
"Turning to the onset of the national epidemic, there is a tendency for the influenza season to start in California more often than in any other state (with an average lead of 1 week for California, P < 0.01). This is consistent with California's being the most populous state; however, additional analyses indicate that population factors alone cannot explain the early epidemic onset in California ."
The article is:
"Synchrony, Waves, and Spatial Hierarchies in the Spread of Influenza" Science 21 April 2006:Vol. 312. no. 5772, pp. 447 - 451