Protecting your home and community

1/28/2014 Flu Virus Particles Can Remain Infectious on the Fingers for Over 30 Minutes

A microphotograph of the Swine (H1N1) Influenza VirusA study in this month’s issue of the journal Clinical Microbiology and Infection reports that two important strains of influenza virus can remain communicable for thirty minutes or longer on fingertips. The two viruses used in the study, H1N1 (the variant which was responsible for the flu pandemic in 2009) and H3N2 (a swine flu with potential for human to human infection), were mixed with respiratory secretions from volunteers and placed in droplets on fingertips, which were then tested at intervals.[1]

The H1N1 virus was hardier than the H3N2 particles on fingertips, and is responsible for most of the flu misery that is sweeping through the world’s population this winter. Unusually, the worst affected population is in young and middle-aged adults. This is in contrast to most flu seasons, which typically affect those over 65.

A photograph of a person receiving a flu vaccinationSee this site for a history of the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. New estimates suggest that deaths attributable to that strain might be ten times higher than originally estimated, instead of the 18,651 laboratory-confirmed deaths reported by the World Health Organization (WHO), study authors estimated that between 123,000 and 203,000 pandemic influenza respiratory deaths occurred globally from 1 April through 31 December 2009. Further, they note that in this pandemic, most of the deaths occurred in people under the age of 65, which makes the economic effects of the spread unusually powerful.[2]

Both the H1N1 and the H3N2 virus types are included in the current vaccination cocktail. See the CDC’s report on seasonal variations in vaccine type here.

It’s not too late to get vaccinated. Find out where, here.

A photograph of two people kissing each other through surgical masks




[1] Reported by the Wall Street Journal. Jan. 27, 2014

[2] Reported in USA Today. November 26, 2013



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