Scientists Say That In Case Of Epidemics, Living In A Bigger City Might Be Safer For You
When it comes to communicable illnesses, it is not hard to imagine why it would spread so rapidly in cities with people who live in close proximity. Sneezing or coughing through a subway tunnel has the potential to spread a sickness like wildfire. But is there scientific evidence to support this notion?
A study was conducted to examine the spread of seasonal flu throughout rural communities and densely populated cities like New York City and Miami.
One of the authors of the paper had this to say at a press conference, “The increasing majority of humans now live in cities and understanding the size and structure of cities may help us predict and control epidemics.”
Using medical claims data gathered from over 400 cities in the U.S. and climate data, scientist were able to find that influenza spreads more rapidly in small cities with the right weather conditions.
Trevor Bedford, a computational biologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, though not involved in the study, said this about the work: “They’ve created a predictive model that seems to work quite well, given… how big a city is, how dense it is, along with where it sits in terms of its climatic patterns. You can well predict how flu behaves and how flu spread within the city.”
Dealing with the outbreak of an infectious disease can overwhelm health clinics, hospitals, and the cities in which they occur. Having information like this at the ready will allow scientists and doctors to determine how best to deal with outbreaks.
With influenza now evolving at an alarming rate every year, every minute of research conducted is extremely valuable. This will hopefully prevent the untimely death of children, the elderly and those in already failing health.
Influenza should be taken very seriously, regardless of whether you’ve been infected or not. The next time you go to your doctor, ask for the flu shot.