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El Niño Could be Bad News for Flu

AccuWeather is reporting that the expected development of the weather condition known as El Niño this summer could mitigate against swine flu in the northern U.S. next winter.

El Niño, a phenomenon where the Pacific Ocean gets warmer off the coast of Central and South America, often produces milder winters in the northern part of the country, the weather agency says on its website.

Scientists have already suggested that flu viruses fare better in colder and drier conditions.

In addition, AccuWeather suggests a harsher winter could force people indoors, where the air is often drier and may be better able to harbor the flu.

At the same, though, the agency reports that dangerous pandemics and "mega" outbreaks seem immune to the weather, and strike whether it's cold or warm.

By Michael E. Ruane  |  May 8, 2009; 3:28 PM ET
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