Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Genealogy and Influenza

Could genealogy save your life? Perhaps if your family research has uncovered a relative who died from influenza, maybe in the 1918 pandemic.

That's the implication I draw from research reported in "Evidence for heritable predisposition to death due to influenza" in J Infect Dis 2007; 197:18–24 by Albright FS, Orlando P, Pavia AT, Jackson GG, Cannon Albright LA.

These statistical findings are described in a short podcast and while the paper itself isn't freely available an online editorial comment is, which includes a summary.

Knowing you are at higher risk from influenza due to a predisposing genetic determinant might help motivate taking precautions, like an annual flu shot, to protect yourself.

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