Researchers have said that avoiding public transport in order to minimize the risk of seasonal flu infection is a waste of time as children, and not the public transport commuters, are more likely to be the cause of infection.
Researchers at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) carried out a survey among nearly 6,000 people, asking them whether they fell ill every seven days during the 22 week period between November to April. The researchers also recorded the participants' lifestyles and background.
The researchers found that the flu infection among children was the highest just before the Christmas break while it fell by nearly 50 percent the next week when the schools were closed. Among the adults, the researchers found that the rate of infection was the highest in the week after the children were found to be the most unwell, which revealed that the infection was more likely to be carried into the homes by the children.
"It shows that schools really are a hotbed of transmission. If there is a public health message from this research, it is to keep your children out of school as soon as they start feeling ill to prevent them spreading their bug to their schoolmates", lead researcher Dr Alma Adler said.