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Study: Influenza not spread via public transportation

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Subways, trains and buses don't spread influenza. Grand Central Station Terminal in New York City -- the world's largest train station in number of train platforms -- serves more than 60 million passengers per year. UPI/John Angelillo | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/41662c950d5e27db82d61eb22805c6d2/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Subways, trains and buses don't spread influenza. Grand Central Station Terminal in New York City -- the world's largest train station in number of train platforms -- serves more than 60 million passengers per year. UPI/John Angelillo | License Photo

LONDON, June 6 (UPI) -- Taking public transportation during flu season does not increase a person's risk of getting influenza, researchers in Britain suggest.

Dr. Alma Adler and Dr. Ken Eames, experts on infectious disease at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said they surveyed nearly 6,000 people and found fewer people who took a train, a subway or a bus got ill than if they commuted by other methods, the Daily Telegraph reported.

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The findings are counter intuitive -- many feel being in a crowded rail car or bus where people cough and sneeze is the ideal place to get the flu, but the researchers said separate research released last year might help explain why.

Commuters on public transport are exposed to more germs and so build up greater immunity, Adler and Eames said.

"The findings will no doubt come as a huge surprise to the many workers who blame being under the weather on their daily commute. In London where most people take public transport, the level of infection was no higher than elsewhere and in fact was slightly lower," Adler told the Telegraph. "Flu tends to be spread by direct contact and so it is probably children who are tending to drive the spread more than public transport."

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Previous research has shown children catch influenza from other children and then spread it to their families and others.

The research was presented at the Cheltenham Science Festival.

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