PLoS Comp Biol: drivers of spread of seasonal influenza in the US during 2002-2010

MISMS researchers analyzed fine-grain insurance claims data on influenza-like-illnesses over eight seasons in ~300 locations throughout the United States. Using statistical methods, they found that seven of eight epidemics likely originated in the Southern US, that influenza spatial transmission is dominated by local traffic between cities, and that seasons marked by novel influenza virus circulation had a particularly radial, localized spatial structure. The findings are in stark contrast to prevailing theories of influenza spatial transmission that suggest that transmission is favored in low humidity environments and that spread is a dominated by air traffic between populous hubs. The findings are published in PLoS Computational Biology.