A new study, published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, finds that people with obesity may carry the influenza A virus for longer periods of time compared to people with the normal weight. The study suggests that obesity affects the severity of flu symptoms, as well as the virus spreads.
For the study, a team of researchers collected and analyzed data on around 1783 people from Managua in Nicaragua during the three seasons of flu from 2015 till 2017. The results of the analysis showed that people with obesity who had flu shed the virus for 42% longer than people without the obesity.
Stacey Schultz-Cherry of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, US, comments on the public health implications of the study: “It is therefore even more important to develop effective strategies to prevent and control influenza, especially in the overweight and obese population,” she writes, “which could be challenging because of the poor vaccine responses in this population.”