The data could reveal more about how viruses spread
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Campus life typically challenges students with new opportunities for learning, discovery — and intimacy with germs. Lots of germs.
That makes dormitories and their residents an ideal natural experiment to trace the germs’ paths. “You pack a bunch of college kids into a very small environment … we’re not known as being the cleanliest of people,” says sophomore Parker Kleb at the University of Maryland in College Park. Kleb is a research assistant for an ongoing study tracking the spread of respiratory viruses through a student population. The study’s goal is to better understand how these viruses move around, in order to help keep illness at bay — all the more pressing, as the current flu season is on track to be among the worst recorded in the United States.
Called “C.A.T.C.H. the Virus,” which stands for Characterizing