Super Bowl-influenza link is nothing to sneeze at

February 4, 2015 08:37


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Deaths from complications of influenza are 18 percent higher among elderly in cities that send football teams to participate in the Super Bowl, according to a new published working paper by Louisiana’s Tulane University researchers based on 36 years of statistical records.

Not only do some 100,000 people from all parts of the US - some of them infected with the flu virus - converge on one stadium, but others gather to attend crowded parties in their own locations to celebrate - or mourn - the results of the game.

In the latest game held this week, huge numbers of fans from Boston (the winning side), Seattle (the losers) and other cities met in the stadium.

According to the New Orleans researchers, the epidemiological results are nothing to sneeze at. The flu virus can travel two meters in the air after a sneeze, according to lead author Prof. Charles Stoecker, an expert in global health systems and development at Tulane’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. “Football fans might contract a mild case of influenza, but then pass it on to other, potentially more susceptible people.”

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