People with obesity may shed flu virus longer

Obesity can affect influenza transmission, research finds. Here's why that matters.

Obesity may play an important role in influenza transmission, a new study shows.

People who are obese have a higher risk of serious diseases and health conditions, with obesity increasing the risk of severe complications and death from the flu virus infections, especially for the elderly.

Aubree Gordon, assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, studied the epidemiologic features and transmission of influenza in Nicaragua.

Her team looked at data from more than 1,800 individuals in 320 households in Managua, Nicaragua, from 2015 to 2017, focusing on “viral shedding,” or how long influenza virus is detectable in people’s mucous.

Gordon discusses why the new findings are important—and what could reduce the risk.

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