Infections often strike harder in men than in women. This is perhaps due to the fact that bacteria and viruses have much more to women than to men.
Men's flu is one thing - all kinds of illnesses that are a lot more deadly to men are something else.
Men with tuberculosis are 1.5 times more likely to die from this disease than women. And men run a 5 times greater risk of cancer if they are infected with HPV.
Women are the first choice
A research team from the University of London believes it has discovered why.
Women are more valuable as carriers of so-called pathogens - pathogens such as bacteria and viruses - and therefore keep women alive longer than men.
Causing a disease is not a goal in itself for pathogens. In fact, it suits them well if the host stays alive, because then they can multiply and jump from one host to another.
Women infect better
Men can transmit infection in one way: contact with others.
But women have more opportunities to spread a virus or bacteria: in addition to contact with others - for example by having sex or sneezing - they can also transmit an infection through pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding.
The scientists examined the HTLV-1 virus, which can develop into a certain form of leukemia, ATL called. That virus is found in Japan and the Caribbean, and in Japan, men have a 3.5 times higher risk of developing ATL than women. In the Caribbean, as many men and women receive ATL.
ATL jumps from mother to child, and according to the scientists the virus "wants" to keep Japanese women alive longer because they breastfeed more, and keep it up longer.