What are first-year results for M-Flu?
For the first-year study results, read the Feb. 15, 2010 Journal of Infectious Diseases article (PDF), read the Oct. 27, 2008 University of Michigan news release, and listen to a podcast.
What is M-FLU?
M-FLU is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded intervention study. The purpose of the study is to investigate the feasibility and effectiveness of using two non-pharmaceutical interventions (face masks and hand hygiene) to reduce the transmission of influenza.
What will results tell us?
Results will tell us how feasible and effective face masks and hand hygiene are as interventions for reducing the transmission of influenza. The results from this study are important since non-pharmaceutical interventions, including masks and hand hygiene, are being considered as preventative tools for pandemic influenza.
Why use students?
Students living in university residence halls are an ideal study population because of the close contact involved in their living quarters. With this density comes greater opportunity for disease transmission, thereby making residence halls a good site in which to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing transmission.
Why do students participate?
Students participate in M-FLU for a variety of reasons, including a desire to contribute to health research, an interest in how health studies are conducted, a curiosity or concern about influenza and pandemic preparedness and, for some, an interest in earning monetary compensation while supporting an important call to public health research.
When will you have results?
Results from the first study year are now available.
What will be done with results?
Results may be used to guide future policies on the use of face masks and hand hygiene for pandemic preparedness.
What is a pandemic? What is an epidemic?
A pandemic is a global disease outbreak. The features of a pandemic influenza strain include being highly pathogenic for humans, easily transmitted between humans, and genetically unique. An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza A virus emerges for which there is little or no immunity in the human population and begins to cause serious illness worldwide. An epidemic is the occurrence of an infectious disease clearly in excess of what is normally expected.
Is an outbreak of pandemic influenza likely?
Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognize that a pandemic of influenza is likely to occur in the future.
What will happen in a pandemic?
History reveals that influenza pandemics can spread rapidly around the world, may last for months to years, and leave millions dead in their wake. There have been three major influenza pandemics during the 20th century: H1N1 “Spanish” in 1918-19, H2N2 “Asian” in 1957, and H3N2 “Hong Kong” in 1968. The 1918-19 pandemic was associated with a global death toll of 50 to 100 million with much of the mortality occurring among young healthy adults. Even today, a pandemic of the magnitude associated with that of the 1918 A(H1N1), could not be handled by the health care system. If the newly emerging avian influenza virus known as A (H5N1), had been able to transmit from human to human, it could have had a major impact on global transmission and mortality. Currently, H5N1 is primarily a virus of birds, but it continually evolves and causes sporadic disease in humans. As of August 2007, H5N1 has caused more than 310 human cases in 12 countries with a mortality rate above 58 percent.
Don't we have vaccines for the flu?
Yes, we have vaccines for seasonal influenza. Vaccination has been the principal public health method of preventing and controlling seasonal influenza. However, pharmaceutical interventions such as flu vaccines might not be available at the time of a pandemic influenza outbreak and may not provide sufficient protection again new emerging influenza strains. Therefore, we are evaluating the effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical interventions for preventing the spread of seasonal influenza.
Will a flu shot help me?
A flu shot is designed to provide protection against seasonal influenza and, as such, can be quite helpful. However, flu vaccines might not be available at the time of a pandemic influenza outbreak.
What is influenza?
Influenza is a highly contagious viral infection that primarily attacks the respiratory tract, including the nose, throat, and bronchi and on rare occasions, the lungs and usually lasts for about a week. Flu outbreaks seasonally occur with onset in the late fall or winter.
How does is spread?
Flu viruses spread mainly from person to person by droplet transmission when viruses are emitted through droplets from talking, coughing and sneezing. People can also become infected if their hand becomes contaminated and comes in contact with their eyes, nose or mouth. The disease is easily spread from person to person and can travel quickly through communities to create an epidemic.
Is it bad if the students don't wear the masks or use the hand sanitizers?
It is neither bad nor good if study participants don’t always wear the masks or use the hand sanitizers. While we encourage all participants to utilize the two interventions as instructed, we are also studying compliance and feasibility. We collect data on the use of the interventions using anonymous observations in the residence halls and by participant self report.
Who funds the study?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funds the M-FLU Study.
If I get the flu, should I wear a mask?
Wearing a face mask may help reduce the transmission of influenza by reducing the spread of droplets through talking, coughing, and sneezing. It may also help reduce the transmission of colds and other respiratory infections similar to influenza for which there is no current vaccine. Therefore, students who have had a flu shot should still wear their masks.
Can regular flu turn into avian flu?
H5N1 (avian influenza A) is the particular subtype of influenza virus that is causing the current epidemic in birds. The virus is found in the saliva, nasal secretions, and feces of infected birds. Close contact with infected birds or contaminated surfaces has lead to infections in humans.
How do I interview a researcher for my story?
Please contact Laura Bailey (email@example.com; 734.764.1552) to set up an interview with the Principal Investigators, Dr. Arnold Monto and Dr. Allison Aiello.