SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

Tulane study indicates flu spreads through Super Bowl celebrations

The analysts discovered that cities with a team in the Super Bowl had a rise in flu deaths for people 65 years old and above. | File photo

Scientists from Tulane University recently conducted a study showing that Super Bowl celebrations in cities that have teams in the Super Bowl led to more flu deaths among seniors than in other cities.

The study, published in the American Journal of Health Economics, used statistics from county levels between 1974 and 2009. The analysts discovered that cities with a team in the Super Bowl had a rise in flu deaths for people 65 years old and above. The average increase amounted to approximately 18 percent.

There are even more deaths when the Super Bowl coincides with the flu season’s peak, or when the influenza strain is still at its most lethal stage. In contrast, there does not appear to be a rise in flu deaths at the cities where the Super Bowl takes place. The researchers attribute this to the warmer locations of the Super Bowl games.

"It's people that are staying at home and hosting small local gatherings, so your Super Bowl party, that are actually passing influenza among themselves," Charles Stoecker, from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and lead author of the study, said. "Every year, we host these parties that we go to and it changes mixing patterns and you are coughing and sneezing and sharing chips and dip with people that you often don't and so we get the influenza transmitted in novel ways that's then going to eventually wind up in the lungs of a 65-year-old."

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Tulane University 6823 St Charles Ave New Orleans, LA 70118

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