Story by Derek Gatherer in The Conversation.
It’s that time of the year again. You probably think I mean Christmas, but as a virologist the sight of glitter, fairy lights and moulting pine trees immediately makes me think of the flu season. And if there’s one thing that can ruin your family’s Christmas, it’s the arrival of that particular unwanted guest.
Most years you’d be rather unlucky if the real flu gate-crashed your Christmas party since, despite the rising tide of sneezes, coughs and sniffs heard in the streets of Europe and North America since October, these are usually just the minor respiratory viruses – mere heralds of the big one still to come. Influenza A (and its frequent companion influenza B) usually times its major arrival for early in the new year.
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