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Why Santa Claus, like everyone else, should get a flu shot

This new paper somehow avoids saying the most important thing it could say: Santa Claus, like everyone else, ought to be diligent about getting an annual flu shot.

The study is: “What would happen if Santa Claus was sick? His impact on communicable disease transmission,” Yuki Furuse, The Medical Journal of Australia, vol. 211, no. 11, December 2019, pp. 523-524.

The author, at Kyoto University, explains:

In some areas of the world it is believed that Santa Claus brings presents to children on Christmas Eve…. It is possible that he could spread pathogens if infected with a communicable disease at the time of his yearly visit. In this study, we used mathematical modelling to investigate the probability and impact of influenza and measles trans-mission by Santa Claus on Christmas Eve….

We found that disease transmission by Santa Claus potentially has a great impact on public health. When Santa Claus was infected with influenza and transmitted the disease effectively through contact  with children, the final size of a seasonal outbreak increased slightly but statistically significantly.

(Thanks to Raymond Kunikane Terhune for bringing this to our attention.)

A Reminder About Children’s Reactions to Santa Claus

We take this opportunity to remind you about the series of research studies done by Ig Nobel Prize winner John Trinkaus. (Professor Trinkaus was awarded an Ig Nobel Prize in Literature, in 2003, for having published nearly 100 academic studies about things that annoy him.) Trinkaus observed the children’s reactions to visiting Santa Claus at a shopping mall. Trinkaus found that all was not joy.

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