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科学美国人60秒: 流感疫情传播

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U.S. Flu Spread Counts On Southern Cold Snaps

流感疫情在美国南方寒流地区传播

If you’ve got the flu, your focus is on getting better—not on how you caught it. But from a public health standpoint, tracking how flu spreadscan help keep the virus contained.

如果你感染了流感,你会感觉越来越好,并不是指你怎么感染流感的。而是从公共健康的角度来说,跟踪流感传播的方式可以帮助你防止病毒感染。

In the past, models predicting the path of epidemics have focused on travel by plane—in some cases combining data on population density with airport locations. And when studies showed that influenza transmission is modulated by humidity, scientists injected information on climate into the mix.

在过去,预测流感传染路径的模型,主要集中在飞机旅行旅途中——在某些情况下,将人口密度数据与机场地点相结合起来。当研究流感传播受湿度调节时,科学家将气候信息注入到混合物中进行了研究。

Now, a new study combines data on a variety of factors, from doctors’ visits and vaccination coverage to weather patterns and the movement of individuals as recorded by Twitter. The finding: in the U.S., influenza typically arises in the warm, humid conditions of the south and spreads quickly thanks to the high degree of social connectivity in the region. The finding is in the journal eLife. [Ishanu Chattopadhyay et al, Conjunction of factors triggering waves of seasonal influenza]

现在,一项新研究将各种因素的数据结合起来,从医生访问和接种疫苗覆盖率再到Twitter的记录中,这些天气模式和个人移动数据被集结起来进行了研究,结果发现:在美国,流感通常发生在南部暖湿的环境中,并且由于该地区高度的社会联系而迅速传播。这一科研发现发表在eLife杂志上。

The researchers started by poring over health care records from more than 40 million families, looking for reports of flu-like symptoms. The analysis covered nine season’s worth of data, from 2003 to 2011. And it pointed toward outbreaks starting near the Gulf of Mexico or the southern Atlantic, a surge that seemed to coincide with the southward migration of ducks.

研究人员从四千多万个家庭的医疗保健记录中,寻找流感样症状的报告。该分析报告涵盖了从2003年到2011年的9个季度的数据。它预测了墨西哥湾或南大西洋附近的疫情爆发情况,这似乎与鸭子南迁有关。

“We did our first analysis and it did look like ducks could be possible carriers of the virus, starting spark of the influenza epidemic.”

“我们做了第一次分析,它看起来似乎是鸭子,可能是病毒的载体,这是流感流行的启动点。”

Andrey Rzhetsky of the University of Chicago, the study’s senior author. He says they wrote up their “duck hypothesis” and submitted the paper for review.“Reviewers, so to speak, strongly encouraged us to include additional factors into the model, specifically climate variables, temperature, wind speeds, solar radiation, humidity.”

该研究的资深作者芝加哥大学的Andrey Rzhetsky。 他说,他们写下了他们的“鸭子假说”,并提交了论文以供审查。“可以说,评论家强烈鼓励我们,在模型中包括其他因素,特别是气候变量、温度、风速、以及太阳辐射和湿度等因素。”

And when they did…“Lo and behold, duck hypothesis collapsed. Ducks as predictor were not important anymore and climate took the first place.”Based on the data they collected, the researchers liken the spread of flu to a wildfire. The spark that ignites the epidemic is provided when a blast of colder weather strikes an otherwise warm, humid, urban environment. That chill allows the virus to remain viable in water droplets and perhaps forces people indoors into close quarters.

当他们这样做时......“你看,鸭子假说并不成立。作为预测指标的鸭子,已经不再重要,而气候已居首位。”根据他们收集的数据来看,研究人员将流感的传播情况比作野火。当寒冷的天气袭击温暖潮湿的城市环境时,会引发疫情。这种寒冷使得病毒在水滴中保持活力,并且可能迫使人们在室内进入近距离传播态势。

That’s where southern hospitality comes in. Folks in the south are more highly socially connected than elsewhere in the country. So friends, neighbors and community members have plenty of opportunity to pass the virus to one another face to face.

南方人的热情好客就在这里。南方民众比全国其他地区的社会关系更高。 因此,朋友、邻居和社区成员,有很多机会面对面地将病毒传播给另一个人。

Finally, driving from county to county or traveling by plane, allows the flu to spread like wind carries a fire. So ya’ll come back now—but first make sure you’re no longer contagious.

最后,从县到县或乘飞机旅行时,流感就像风一样使火灾蔓延。所以你现在回来 ——但首先确保你不再具有传染性。

U.S. Flu Spread Counts On Southern Cold Snaps

If you’ve got the flu, your focus is on getting better—not on how you caught it. But from a public health standpoint, tracking how flu spreadscan help keep the virus contained.

In the past, models predicting the path of epidemics have focused on travel by plane—in some cases combining data on population density with airport locations. And when studies showed that influenza transmission is modulated by humidity, scientists injected information on climate into the mix.

Now, a new study combines data on a variety of factors, from doctors’ visits and vaccination coverage to weather patterns and the movement of individuals as recorded by Twitter. The finding: in the U.S., influenza typically arises in the warm, humid conditions of the south and spreads quickly thanks to the high degree of social connectivity in the region. The finding is in the journal eLife. [Ishanu Chattopadhyay et al, Conjunction of factors triggering waves of seasonal influenza]

The researchers started by poring over health care records from more than 40 million families, looking for reports of flu-like symptoms. The analysis covered nine season’s worth of data, from 2003 to 2011. And it pointed toward outbreaks starting near the Gulf of Mexico or the southern Atlantic, a surge that seemed to coincide with the southward migration of ducks.

“We did our first analysis and it did look like ducks could be possible carriers of the virus, starting spark of the influenza epidemic.”

Andrey Rzhetsky of the University of Chicago, the study’s senior author. He says they wrote up their “duck hypothesis” and submitted the paper for review.“Reviewers, so to speak, strongly encouraged us to include additional factors into the model, specifically climate variables, temperature, wind speeds, solar radiation, humidity.”

And when they did…“Lo and behold, duck hypothesis collapsed. Ducks as predictor were not important anymore and climate took the first place.”Based on the data they collected, the researchers liken the spread of flu to a wildfire. The spark that ignites the epidemic is provided when a blast of colder weather strikes an otherwise warm, humid, urban environment. That chill allows the virus to remain viable in water droplets and perhaps forces people indoors into close quarters.

That’s where southern hospitality comes in. Folks in the south are more highly socially connected than elsewhere in the country. So friends, neighbors and community members have plenty of opportunity to pass the virus to one another face to face.

Finally, driving from county to county or traveling by plane, allows the flu to spread like wind carries a fire. So ya’ll come back now—but first make sure you’re no longer contagious.


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