Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Mutation identified that might allow H1N1 to spread more easily

In the fall of 1917, a new strain of influenza swirled around the globe. At first, it resembled a typical flu epidemic: Most deaths occurred among the elderly, while younger people recovered quickly. However, in the summer ...

Health

Mexicans put faith in masks -- but do they work?

(AP) -- The cloth patches in green, blue and white are everywhere, clamped tight over the mouth and nose of teachers, toddlers, policemen and drunks. Even the statue at the church of St. Jude, patron of lost causes, has ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

'Killer' cells raise hope of universal flu vaccine

Scientists said Monday they had discovered immune cells that can fight all known flu viruses in what was hailed as an "extraordinary breakthrough" that could lead to a universal, one-shot vaccine against the killer disease.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

New analysis explores the geographical origins of the flu

A computer model developed by scientists at the University of Chicago shows that small increases in transmission rates of the seasonal influenza A virus (H3N2) can lead to rapid evolution of new strains that spread globally ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Flu fighting strategies should be tailored to cities and rural areas

In the face of a flu epidemic, a one-size fits all vaccine strategy won't be effective, a York University study has found. Instead, strategies need to change significantly depending on the characteristics of each region in ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Basic disinfectant could halt bird flu spread, study shows

Live poultry markets can act as hotbeds for H5N1 bird flu, but simple measures such as disinfecting trucks, equipment and market space could help stop the virus from spreading, researchers said Monday.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Researchers find potential novel treatment for influenza

An experimental drug has shown promise in treating influenza, preventing lung injury and death from the virus in preclinical studies, according to University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers publishing in the journal ...

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Influenza pandemic

An influenza pandemic is an epidemic of an influenza virus that spreads on a worldwide scale and infects a large proportion of the human population. In contrast to the regular seasonal epidemics of influenza, these pandemics occur irregularly, with the 1918 Spanish flu the most serious pandemic in recent history. Pandemics can cause high levels of mortality, with the Spanish influenza estimated as being responsible for the deaths of over 50 million people. There have been about three influenza pandemics in each century for the last 300 years. The most recent ones were the Asian Flu in 1957 and the Hong Kong Flu in 1968.

Influenza pandemics occur when a new strain of the influenza virus is transmitted to humans from another animal species. Species that are thought to be important in the emergence of new human strains are pigs, chickens and ducks. These novel strains are unaffected by any immunity people may have to older strains of human influenza and can therefore spread extremely rapidly and infect very large numbers of people. Influenza A viruses can occasionally be transmitted from wild birds to other species causing outbreaks in domestic poultry and may give rise to human influenza pandemics.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warns[when?] that there is a substantial risk of an influenza pandemic within the next few years[when?]. One of the strongest candidates is a highly pathogenic variation of the H5N1 subtype of Influenza A virus. As of 2006, prepandemic influenza vaccines are being developed against the most likely suspects which include H5N1, H7N1, and H9N2. Certain scholars and senior policy advisors argue that pandemic influenza represents a substantive threat to the international economy, to each nation's national security, and a challenge to international governance.

On 11 June 2009, a new strain of H1N1 influenza was declared to be a global pandemic (Stage 6) by the World Health Organization after evidence of spreading in the southern hemisphere.

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