Proliferation of Flu in Dorms: A Study by the University of Maryland

According to an article on the NBC News website, researchers at the University of Maryland are examining the dormitories so they can evaluate the spread of influenza. Dr. Donald Milton and colleagues conducted this research with an aim to see the effect of the flu on students living in the dormitories.

The purpose of the research is to identify the source of the flu’s transmission. These scientists conducted detailed investigations to determine if individuals who were infected by the flu obtained the illness by coming into contact with mucus that carried the flu virus. They also evaluated whether an individual can become infected by breathing in the virus on microscopic airborne particles. Or, if they can pick up the influenza virus from infected microdroplets that occur when someone sneezes and those particles land on common surfaces like desks or tables. 

This research is necessary because in recent years the U.S. has suffered from several flu attacks. These Influenza outbreaks can lead to an epidemic of massive proportion. However, its primary cause is not fully understood. Scientists believe that individuals transmit this disease even before they experience any symptoms. By having a better understanding of how the illness is spread, we’ll have a better way to prevent or cope with it.

Researchers found college living areas to be the perfect breeding ground for infectious viruses such as flu, and therefore conducted the study in the dorms. Head clinician, Dr. Barbara Albert is supervising the research. He said, “You’re sharing the same air in small rooms. They may not even know they’ve been in contact with somebody else.”

Earlier this year, Milton’s research found that flu causing viruses can stay suspended in the air for a long period of time, especially when the patients are breathing and coughing frequently. According to Stefanos Koutsoukos, a biochemist involved with the research team, “We are all breathing out potentially infectious viruses.”

To further evaluate the issue of how the illness is spread, researchers require patients with influenza to use Milton’s Gesundheit “sneeze machine.” This device measures the virus that the person has discharged when they sneeze. This cone-shaped collection device helps patients see the airborne particles they release with each breath, cough, or sneeze.

The research crew has a permit from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to conduct various experiments about different infections. Consequently, the doctors also asked the students about their lifestyle, physical activities, and food habits to understand the matter on a wider scale.

Milton summed it up, “We are trying to get a broad picture of susceptibility.” For instance, these types of studies will help provide a better understanding of how illnesses are transmitted and will assist doctors in controlling outbreaks, so they don’t become full epidemics in public areas like public schools, college hostels, and military barracks.  

The sneeze machine experiment conducted by the researchers of the University of Maryland was quite successful in allowing us to understand how illnesses, like the flu, are transmitted. By being aware of this information, we can make monumental strides in the prevention of such conditions in the future.  Another way to protect yourself and your family from the flu and other airborne illnesses is to hire A & S Total Cleaning Service. We are a highly recommended executive cleaning company that provides exceptional commercial cleaning services. They have been in business since 1989 and offer a wide range of commercial cleaning. Check us out today!