Minneapolis, NFL look to curb Super Bowl-related flu transmission: 5 things to know

With an estimated 1 million people expected to attend Super Bowl events in Minneapolis this weekend, NFL event organizers are making extra efforts to prevent the transmission of influenza, according to a report from CBS News.

Here are five things to know.

1. The Super Bowl comes amid a particularly virulent flu season, with the number of outpatient visits for flu-like illness nearing levels last seen during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.

2. Epidemiologist Mike Osterholm, PhD, director of the Minneapolis-based Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said the 65,000 people attending the game will have an increased risk of contracting the illness.

"Think of influenza almost like a lottery," Dr. Osterholm told CBS News. "If a normal day you'd only come in contact with 10 people, that's one chance — 100 or a thousand [people, and] you just upped your chances that much more."

3. The risk of flu transmission is also heightened around the city, as Super Bowl events are scheduled for every day of the week leading up to Sunday's game. The transmission risk is also compounded by the increase in air travel. Some local hotels and restaurants have hired the hygiene technology company Ecolab to help limit viral transmission at their facilities.

4. Patriots and Eagles fans may also carry the flu back to Boston and Philadelphia. Researchers have previously shown people over 64 living in cities home to Super Bowl teams experience an 18 percent increased risk of flu-related death after the big game, according to CBS News.

5. Fans aren't the only ones at risk for flu transmission. This week, New England Patriots' cornerback Malcolm Butler was hospitalized with flu-like illness.

More articles on infection control: 
West Virginia hospital suspends elective surgeries over particulate matter on sterile trays 
Top 10 infection control, patient safety stories for January 
Iowa sees numerous norovirus outbreaks across the state

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