Warmer Winters Linked to Earlier, Stronger Flu Outbreaks

The annual spikes in sore throats, fevers, coughs and chills from seasonal influenza can change depending on the seasons preceding them, according to a recent study, published in the journal PLOS Currents: Influenza, reports Umair Irfan in conjunction with Climate Wire at Scientific American. Scientists looking at influenza patterns across the US over more than a decade found that warmer-than-average winters give way to earlier and more severe outbreaks. As the climate heats up and warmer winters become more frequent, researchers said, earlier influenza seasons may become more common. The current influenza outbreak, which surged earlier and more strongly this year than in past seasons, may be an example of this in action, though health officials say it is still too soon to tell. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned last December that the 2012-2013 influenza season was off to an early start. Though the illness is now on the decline, the CDC warns that Americans are not out of the woods yet and should still get vaccinated. Annually, the illness has a multibillion-dollar economic price tag in terms of treatment and lost productivity.

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 Source

 Warmer winters linked to earlier flu outbreaks. The annual spikes in sore throats, fevers, coughs and chills from seasonal influenza can change depending on the seasons preceding them, according to recent findings. ClimateWire http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=warmer-winters-linked-to-earlier-flu-outbreaks

 

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About melharte

Mel (Mary Ellen) Harte is a biologist (PhD) and climate change educator. She co-authored the free online book, COOL THE EARTH, SAVE THE ECONOMY, available at www.CoolTheEarth.US, and writes the CLIMATE CHANGE THIS WEEK column at the HuffingtonPost. Living summers in the alpine Rockies, she is on the frontlines of watching what climate change can do. Her diagnostic digital photographs of wildflowers have appeared in numerous publications.
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