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Flu and You: How flu spreads among kids
February 4th, 2011
05:35 PM ET

Flu and You: How flu spreads among kids

Flu activity in the United States increased in the week between January 23 to 29, reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Six flu-related children’s deaths were reported that week.  During this flu season, which started in October, there have been 19 confirmed pediatric deaths.

How do kids so effectively spread the virus? An article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found in a study of a Pennsylvania elementary school that boys are more likely to transmit the flu to other boys, and girls to other girls.

As of last week, 17 states have high flu-like illness activities – most of them are Southern and Southeastern states such as Texas, Louisiana, Virginia and Tennessee.  (See map above for more details about where flu activities are most intense.)


soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. star

    what a stupid article. Promises to answer the question how, but only points out that it does. Duh! How about something useful???

    February 4, 2011 at 18:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Sarah

    Take vitamin D is far more effective than the flu vaccine and it doesn't have dangerous chemicals.
    A clinical trial led by Mitsuyoshi Urashima and conducted by the Division of Molecular Epidemiology in the the Department of Pediatrics at the Jikei University School of Medicine Minato-ku in Tokyo found that vitamin D was extremely effective at halting influenza infections in children. The trial appears in the March, 2010 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Am J Clin Nutr (March 10, 2010).

    The results are from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 334 children, half of which were given 1200 IUs per day of vitamin D3. In other words, this was a "rigorous" scientific study meeting the gold standard of scientific evidence.
    In the study, while 31 of 167 children in the placebo group contracted influenza over the four month duration of the study, only 18 of 168 children in the vitamin D group did. This means vitamin D was responsible for an absolute reduction of nearly 8 percent.
    Flu vaccines, according to the latest scientific evidence, achieve a 1 percent reduction in influenza symptoms.
    This means vitamin D appears to be 800% more effective than vaccines at preventing influenza infections in children.

    February 4, 2011 at 18:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • HJS

      Sarah,
      I looked up this article. Right journal, wrong date. It's in Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 May;91(5):1255-60. While Vit D does appear to be beneficial in this well conducted trial, there is NO WAY to infer any comparison to vaccination effectiveness. This trial did not compare vitD vs vaccination, just vitD vs no_vitD. For all we know, vaccination+VitD gives the best response.

      Vaccinations are like a good offense. Hand-washing, good nutrition, healthy habits and, apparently, vitamin D are like a good defense. They should work together to keep the flu away.

      February 7, 2011 at 10:01 | Report abuse |
    • notation

      THANK YOU! These folks pushing Vitamin D make me wonder if they own stock in a company that's manufacturing supplements. I agree that it appears that more of it would be beneficial, but they're making crazy claims about it being more effective than a vaccine and capable of preventing cancer!

      February 7, 2011 at 18:30 | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      look up vaccines and decline in incidence of disease and you will see that is has NEVER been because of a vaccine! How can a shot with on of the most toxic items on the plantes (Mercury) ever bring health – ?

      February 8, 2011 at 22:20 | Report abuse |
  3. Name

    Vitamin d at proper dosage apparently is better than flu vaccine. Not only that, it works very well against cold which something we can't come up with vaccine for. Thousands have tried it and reported success with vitamin d.

    February 4, 2011 at 23:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Anongirl30

    Do any of you know of a study that compared brands of Vitamin D? How do we know if we're taking a "good" (helpful) brand?

    February 5, 2011 at 05:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lou

      Just simply look for Vitamin D3 supplement. All the information is at Vitamin D Council website. Exactly same thing as the ones produced in the skin when exposed to the sun but due to our lifestyle we don't see much sun. Not to mention sun scare scam to keep us out of sun over skin cancer which turned out to be way over over the board and actually made things much worse.

      February 5, 2011 at 15:47 | Report abuse |
  5. Surething

    This article isn't about flu vaccine or vitamin D. Stop peddling your personal agendas.

    February 5, 2011 at 10:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lou

      Apparently, you're not aware of widespread vitamin D deficiency and it is the TRUE root cause for flu. Go over to vitamin D Council and type in flu in the search engine. It will explain how immune system fight flu directly with vitamin D.

      This article is worthless.

      February 5, 2011 at 15:48 | Report abuse |
    • Surething

      Oh, right. People don't get the flu because they're exposed to someone who has it. They only get it if they don't take in sufficient vitamin D. Sure, that must be it.

      February 5, 2011 at 18:09 | Report abuse |
  6. X-Journalist

    Agreed..the article has no substance. I cannot understand how CNN has journalist of this caliber as professionals. Disgusting!

    February 5, 2011 at 13:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. laura

    okay, in short, they touch each other a lot without washing their hands.

    February 5, 2011 at 17:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. pugowner

    Current research actually supports both measures, and that is mainstream (not alternative) medicine. Vitamin D supplementation is recommended for children. The influenza vaccine is effective, especially in 2011 when the vaccine strains match the circulating strains.

    CDC has antigenically characterized influenza viruses collected by U.S. laboratories since October 1, 2010.
    Influenza A (H1N1): All were A/California/7/2009-like, the influenza A (H1N1) component of the 2010-11 influenza vaccine Influenza A (H3N2): All were A/Perth/16/2009-like, the influenza A (H3N2) component of the 2010-11 influenza vaccine
    Influenza B: 99.4% were B/Brisbane/60/2008-like, the influenza B component for the 2010-11 influenza vaccine

    February 5, 2011 at 23:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. ROTAVIRUS

    Are you sure it is the flu? "Flu-like" symptoms are common to many diseases. This assumption may mislead you to the wrong remedy. That delay may cost a life.

    February 7, 2011 at 01:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Conrad Shull

    I hope they did this "research" for free. File under "Duh!"

    February 7, 2011 at 09:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. sherry

    If vitamin D is so important for preventing flu why is this map bright red in the south where people get plenty of D from the sun and green in Alaska where they don't get enough sun, particularly in the winter?

    February 7, 2011 at 10:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • tanaS

      Simple answer to your challenge. There are more blacks, as a percentage of population, in the South, then elsewhere. Blacks are less able to absorb UV rays. That stimulates the melanin that helps manufacture vitamin D.

      February 7, 2011 at 17:51 | Report abuse |
  12. mart

    Stupid article....doesn't answer the question!

    February 7, 2011 at 11:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. ms.keepitreal

    i caught this im still going through it wacth out

    February 7, 2011 at 21:14 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.