London – A new study has revealed that adults over 30 years of age contract flu only twice a decade. It was found out that flu is uncommon in adults than it is thought. The study indicates that the symptoms of flu can be triggered by cold viruses. The research team came to the conclusion after analyzing blood antibody levels of participants in Southern China, which consist nine separate influenza strains that were spread in between 1968 and 2009.
The research showed that children caught flu every other year, but adults of over 30 years of age contracted it only twice in a decade. Dr Adam Kucharski from London School Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the UK, who was also part of the research team, said, “There’s a lot of debate in the field as to how often people get flu, as opposed to flu-like illness caused by something else.” He said that a number of times common cold viruses like coronavirus or rhinovirus produce flu-like symptoms. Moreover, at times people are not aware that they have flu, added Kucharski.
Meanwhile, Dr Steven Riley from the Medical Research Council Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling at Imperial and a senior author of the study said that flu is more common in children and adolescents. He explained that the occurrence is frequent in children as they socialize more with other people compared to adults. The frequency of the infections is dependent on the flu background and vaccination, added Riley.
The researchers explained the theory stating that the immune system produces antibodies to defend body from flu viruses. These antibodies attack proteins that are found on the surface of the virus. The study also found that strains of influenza virus that people come across early in life induce higher immune reactions than the strains contracted later in life. The results from the study will help scientists to relate immunity response to historical strains and vaccines’ affectivity. The study was published in the journal PLOS Biology.
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