The current pandemic brings to the fore again the different ways viruses are spread, and the importance of continuing to study and explore these methods in the ongoing quest to contain the spread of disease. People might be more likely to be exposed to the flu through airborne virus, research from the University of Maryland School of Public health shows. In an article titled UMD Study Provides New Clues to How Flu is Spread, Donald Milton, M.D., Dr.P.H – director of the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health – offers some compelling insights on the research.

“Our study provides new evidence that there is nearly nine times more influenza virus present in the smallest airborne droplets in the breath exhaled from those infected with flu than in the larger droplets that would be expected to carry more virus,” explains Dr. Milton. “This has important implications for how we prevent the spread of flu.”

The study also found that when flu patients wear a surgical mask, the release of virus in even the smallest airborne droplets can be significantly reduced. This is significant as mask mandates remain in effect in many jurisdictions across the United States in the battle to contain Covid-19.


The researchers also tested the impact of wearing a surgical mask on the virus shedding into airborne droplets. Wearing a surgical mask significantly decreased the presence of virus in airborne droplets from exhaled breath. There was a 2.8 fold reduction in the amount of virus shed into the smallest droplets, and a 3.4 fold overall reduction in virus shed in both the coarse and fine and airborne particles.

Read the entire story at the link provided above.