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Study: Obesity may play role in flu transmission, not just disease severity

August 2, 2018

Obesity increases a person’s risk for severe complications from influenza, including hospitalization and even death. It may also play a role in how flu spreads, according to a new study published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases. The findings suggest that obese adults infected with flu shed the virus for a longer time than adults who are not obese, potentially increasing the opportunity for the infection to spread to others.

“This is the first real evidence that obesity might impact more than just disease severity,” said senior study author Aubree Gordon, MPH, PhD, of the University of Michigan School of Public Health. “It might directly impact transmission as well.”

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