Lack of Education May Increase H1N1 Risk

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Nov. 11 (UPI) — People without a high school diploma may be more likely to get H1N1 flu and the vaccine might be less effective in them, U.S. researchers suggest.

Researchers looked at the latent virus CMV — a latent virus in the herpes family — in young people, and the body’s ability to control the virus.

Study co-author Jennifer Dowd, who began her research while at the University of Michigan of Public Health, said the finding suggests that lower socioeconomic status may make it tougher for adults of all ages to fight new infections and may make the flu vaccine less effective in some.

Dowd, now an assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Hunter College, and co-author Allison Aiello, assistant professor of epidemiology at University of Michigan, say people of lower income and education lose immune control more easily.

Their weakened immune systems, which may be due to increased levels of stress, make them more susceptible to other infections as well, Dowd explains.

“What is going on (is that) the dramatic (downturn) in the economy could actually translate into people’s susceptibility to these diseases,” Dowd says in a statement.

The study, published in the journal Epidemiology, finds a person with less than a high school education had the same level of immune control as someone 15-20 years older with more than a high school education.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.