Scientists from York University have discovered that strategies for fighting influenza need to be more individualized to each region and city to be more effective in protecting people from the virus.
The current one-size-fits-all strategy, namely vaccines, is not as effective as a new, tailored approach could be.
The Canada-based study shows strategies must shift according to the characteristics of a specific region, which are determined by the way the flu strain tends to spread throughout the area. For instance, the time for an influenza epidemic’s onset can be very different if the flu is in an urban or a rural area.
The study evaluated various strategies that have been used, with analysts looking at the strategy that led to the fewest infections and hospitalizations. Researchers drew this information from computer simulations and big data.
"The window of time around the onset of the epidemic is going to be vastly different between a remote population and an urban one, and this is something public health needs to pay attention to when developing vaccine strategies," Seyed Moghadas, York researcher and study lead, said. "Different populations require different vaccination policies to minimize the impact of the disease."