Mayo Clinic researcher studies humidity and the flu virus - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Mayo Clinic researcher studies humidity and the flu virus


ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC)-- Tyler Koep, a graduate student at Mayo Clinic, has chosen two local schools to be a part of his study on the effects of humidity and virus survival.

"The idea is that higher humidity might protect us from the flu," said Tyler Koep. "That might be an option we can use in the future to limit the spread of flu among people."

Koep's experiment called for placing more than 30 humidity censors around Lincoln Elementary and Kellogg Middle Schools.  With the help of students and science teachers like Corey Dornack, Koep tracked and manipulated humidity levels throughout the building for two years.

"I think the cool thing is, they get to see themselves working with a scientist like Tyler and they can identify with Tyler," said Dornack. "I think they can see that maybe one day they can do the same type of stuff because they're a lot like they are."

The results of the experiment might have a positive effect on school attendance.

"If we can find a way to lower the number of students with the flu by either humidity levels or other ideas, we're always willing to look at that," said Sonju.  "I think this study is very interesting."

According to the school's Principal, Lincoln Elementary has seen a decrease in students out due to influenza.  Whether or not that has to do with the changing humidity levels, will have to be determined after Koep's experiment is complete.

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