As the flu spreads, so does the news coverage of SPH flu research
With reported flu cases approaching levels not seen since the 2009 swine flu pandemic, the CDC reports the United States is seeing up to 4,000 deaths per week from the flu this season. At least 63 of the flu victims so far have been children.
As this deadly flu season wears on, SPH Professor Donald Milton’s newly published research on how the virus spreads has garnered significant and prolonged national media attention. Correspondents from NPR, CBS This Morning, A Matter of Fact, and NBC News, among many others, have visited the School of Public Health in recent weeks to speak to Dr. Milton and his colleagues and to get a close-up look at the Gesundheit-II machine--which is being used now to collect data for a new virus research study led by Dr. Milton.
NBC News' Maggie Fox contributed two stories about Dr. Milton's work. "Influenza might be spread simply by breathing, study finds" focused on his recently published research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and "Sneeze machine study takes a deep dive into how flu spreads" on the new CATCH the Virus study, which is now in the data collection phase, tracking students in a University of Maryland residential complex as they get sick and then spread the virus.
A Matter of Fact with Soledad O'Brien covered the story of Dr. Milton's research as part of a larger story that included an interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH. Dr. Fauci, who met Dr. Milton and toured his lab last year, says his top priority is finding a universal flu vaccine.
CBS News This Morning included the research as part of their ongoing coverage of how the flu is spreading across the country, with flu-related deaths climbing and schools closing in an effort to limit the spread of the virus. Medical contributor Dr. Tara Narula focuses on how the Gesundheit-II works, and how the data it collects furthers the lab's research.
UMD graduate Tom Roussey visited his alma mater and authored the story, "Doctors urge flu shots as season reaches peak." He met with several members of Dr. Milton's lab team, and tried out the Gesundheit-II for himself.
When misleading social media claims began circulating about Dr. Milton's research, the Associated Press reached out to him for clarification. The AP story, a part of their "Fact Check" series, was widely published, including in the New York Times.