Reduced International Air travel Credited for Reduced Influenza Infection

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Farmscape for May 31, 2021

Full Interview 11:41 Listen

An Associate Professor with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine credits reduced international airline travel and masking and social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID for a dramatic reduction in Influenza and other respiratory infections this year. Although the media has been tracking the spread of COVID-19, there has been little mention of Influenza this year. Dr. Susan Detmer, an Associate Professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathology with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, says the number of cases of Influenza did go up slightly during the winter but it is going back down and, for humans, we’ve seen record low numbers.

Clip-Dr. Susan Detmer-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:
The major cause of Influenza strain spread on the human population is international airline travel between the southern continent to the northern continents is actually where we see things moving from season to season. In the southern hemisphere Australia has been the main place that we look at to see what we can expect. Right now, we would normally be looking at Australia but, because they have been in lockdown with a closed border for the last year, they have incredibly low levels of both COVID and Influenza A so we can’t go by what they have right now. Because travel has been so limited between countries and even within countries and all of the social distancing and masking that people are doing to prevent COVID transmission, this has actually had a positive effect. Everything has decreased for all of the respiratory pathogens, including Influenza. Even the common cold is way down in humans this year.

Dr. Detmer says numbers of Influenza cases have been so low that an Influenza season wasn’t declared in Canada this year.

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