Some Flu May Not Die, Only Hide

ANN ARBOR, Mich., May 31 (UPI) — Some strains of influenza do not die at the end of winter, but move to South America, while some migrate further, U.S. genetic detectives said.

Study leader Trevor Bedford of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and colleagues trace virus genetic information to understand better the cyclical pattern in temperate regions where autumn flu arrives as predictably as falling leaves, and seems to die in the spring and summer.

“We found that although China and Southeast Asia play the largest role in the influenza A migration network, temperate regions — particularly the United States — also make important contributions,” Bedford said in a statement.

The finding may help explain how influenza is prevented in the United States. For instance, there may be cause for caution in the use of anti-virals that could promote drug-resistant strains that could spread. There may also be reason for optimism that U.S. vaccination programs could stem flu spread globally.

The findings are published in Plos Pathogens.

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