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14th Dec 2016

Scientists Confirm Man Flu Is A Real Thing And Prepare To Bite Your Tongue For Eternity

Nobody – nobody – is sicker than a man with man flu.

Sure we all know that. And we sympathize, of course (while also eye-rolling ourselves into another dimension, but whatever…)

The thing is though, while historically, we have all mocked men for their inability to handle even mild viruses or bouts of the flu, now scientists have gone and confirmed that – gulp – your man might actually have a point when he is shivering and whimpering under the blankets on the couch.

Researchers at Royal Holloway University have just discovered that certain viral infections have indeed evolved to be more virulent in men.

Yup, that’s right. Men are more likely to die from certain viral infections than women – as evolution has figured out that women are more valuable to the virus than men are because they can pass it on to more people.

“Viruses may be evolving to be less dangerous to women, looking to preserve the female population,” Dr Francisco Úbeda, of the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway, explained to The Telegraph.

“The reason why these illnesses are less virulent in women is that the virus wants to be passed from mother to child, either through breastfeeding, or just through giving birth.”

The scientists particularly looked at Human T-cell Lymphotropic Virus Type 1 (HTLV-1), which can cause leukaemia in infected individuals.

And what they found was that infected women tend to develop leukaemia less often than men when there is more mother-to-child transmission.

Death due to infectious diseases is often higher in men than in women, but it has previously been attributed to differences in the immune system of each sex.

But this new study now suggests it is the virus itself which prevents women becoming too ill.

“It has already been established that men and women react to illness differently, but evidence shows that viruses themselves have evolved to affect the sexes differently,” explains Professor Vincent Jansen, from the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway, University of London.

So there you go, ladies. The next time your man moans about not feeling well, you might want to ease up on the eye-rolling a little…