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Watch Out: Rapid Weather Changes Boost Flu Risk

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Rapid weather swings as a result of climate change raise the risk of flu virus infections and epidemics, reports a study from Florida State University and international researchers. Tracing weather patterns and infection rates during a 20-year period in the U.S., China, Italy and France, scientists found that extreme fluctuations in weather during the autumn months of 2017 essentially kick-started that winter’s severe flu epidemic, implying, “The lapsed human immune system in winter caused by rapidly changing weather makes a person more susceptible to flu virus,” says lead author Zhaohua Wu, a professor of meteorology. The study warned that as weather variability increases, Europe could see a 50 percent increase in deaths tied to flu by the end of the century, but added that factoring in weather variability could help public health planning.
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