Search This Blog

Monday, December 12, 2011

Canada : The flu, it's genetic too

Via The Toronto Sun, excerpt :

" Why do some people get sick and others not? Genes yield a clue

Certain people exposed to the influenza virus will remain healthy, while others will be less lucky and become very sick and out of commission for several days.

A recent study suggested that these different responses are due to the distinct expression of certain genes involved in defending the body from the influenza virus.

From the end of November to the beginning of March, the cold and low humidity create the perfect breeding ground for the flu to be transmitted. The word "influenza" also comes from the term influenza di freddo (the influence of cold), an Italian expression used in the 18th century to illustrate the predominance of this infection during cold seasons.

It's the droplets caused by coughing and sneezing that are the primary flu-causing agents; a simple cough can create up to 100,000 viral particles and this number can reach two million during a sneeze. The flu is therefore very contagious, infecting between 5-15% of the population each year.

Infection in the cells of the respiratory tract caused by the flu generally causes a number of clinical symptoms, the most common being runny nose, sore throat, fever and general malaise. This response to the virus can vary considerably from one person to another. So, while many people are knocked out for days by the flu, between 30-50% of people are much more tolerant and only present with moderate symptoms. It is therefore likely that these individuals are better able to control infection and eliminate the virus from their system."

No comments:

Post a Comment