Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pairing masks and hand washing could drastically slow spread of a pandemic flu

Date:
January 31, 2012
Source:
University of Michigan
Summary:
Masks and hand hygiene could cut the spread of flu-like symptoms up to 75 percent, a new study found.

Masks and hand hygiene could cut the spread of flu-like symptoms up to 75 percent, a University of Michigan study found.

A new report shows the second-year results (2007-2008) of the ground-breaking U-M M-Flu study found up to a 75 percent reduction in flu-like illness over the study period when using hand hygiene and wearing surgical masks in residence halls, said Allison Aiello, associate professor of epidemiology in the U-M School of Public Health. Aiello and Dr. Arnold Monto, SPH professor of epidemiology, are co-principal investigators of the M-Flu study.

While the study also showed a 43 percent reduction in the rate of flu, it wasn't statistically significant. Students were more likely to report influenza-like symptoms than to provide laboratory samples for confirmed cases, Aiello said. "This might have impacted our power for detecting significant differences in confirmed flu," she said.

The results from both years found no significant reduction in symptoms in mask use alone, which suggests masks and hand hygiene should be used together, she said.

At the beginning of a pandemic, vaccines probably won't be available immediately so one of the first lines of defense to stop the spread of illness will be non-pharmaceutical interventions like hand hygiene and face masks. The M-Flu results bode well for these types of non-pharmaceutical interventions in the community setting for pandemic preparedness, Aiello said.

"This means masks and hand hygiene may be a good measure for preventing transmissions in crowded living quarters," said Aiello. "In a pandemic situation where compliance may be significantly higher than in controlled studies, masks and hand hygiene together may have even higher preventative implications."

The M-Flu study was the first of its kind and received international exposure when launched in 2006. The team of M-Flu researchers recruited more than 1,000 students in U-M residence halls. The students were assigned to groups who wore masks, wore masks and practiced hand hygiene, or did neither. They were monitored for the presence of flu symptoms or the flu.

The study was the first to test the effectiveness of these measures for primary prevention before people become sick or exhibited symptoms in the university setting, Monto said.

"Ultimately, this research could help the development of national policies for pandemic preparedness," Monto said.

The goal of M-Flu was to estimate the reduction in rate of flu infection and illness attributed to masks and hand sanitizers, and masks alone during two flu seasons. The results in year two were similar to year one with substantial reductions in flu-like symptoms. Students in both studies were asked to wear masks in the residence halls for six hours per day and clean their hands with an alcohol based hand sanitizer in addition to soap and water hand washing.

The group is planning another study involving campus residence halls, this time to evaluate the effect of voluntary sequestration on the flu in residence halls. Details and a timeline for that study are not available yet.

The M-Flu study was a collaboration among the School of Public Health, University of Michigan Housing and the University Health Service. In addition to Aiello and Monto, authors include current students or graduates of the U-M SPH: Rebecca Coulborn, Brian Davis, and Vanessa Perez; and a colleague at Wayne State University, Monica Uddin.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Allison E. Aiello, Vanessa Perez, Rebecca M. Coulborn, Brian M. Davis, Monica Uddin, Arnold S. Monto. Facemasks, Hand Hygiene, and Influenza among Young Adults: A Randomized Intervention Trial. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (1): e29744 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0029744

Cite This Page:

University of Michigan. "Pairing masks and hand washing could drastically slow spread of a pandemic flu." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120131175729.htm>.
University of Michigan. (2012, January 31). Pairing masks and hand washing could drastically slow spread of a pandemic flu. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120131175729.htm
University of Michigan. "Pairing masks and hand washing could drastically slow spread of a pandemic flu." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120131175729.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) New findings suggest men with a certain type of baldness at age 45 are 39 percent more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins