Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

WHO launches strategy to fight 'inevitable' flu pandemics

The World Health Organization on Monday launched a strategy to protect people worldwide over the next decade against the threat of influenza, warning that new pandemics are "inevitable".

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

Why historians ignored the Spanish flu

To judge by the popularity of films like World War Z, pandemics are in vogue and none more so than the Spanish influenza of 1918-19. To mark the centenary of the pandemic this autumn, the BBC has commissioned Spanish Flu: ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Spanish flu: more deadly than World War I

The Spanish flu outbreak 100 years ago is the modern world's deadliest epidemic, its toll of more than 50 million surpassing that of World War I.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Here's why the 2017 flu season was so bad

Australia has recorded 221,853 flu infections so far in 2017, more than any other year. As the flu season comes to an end, we're beginning to understand why it was so bad. And it wasn't because of increased, or more sensitive, ...

Health

Smartphone survey to track flu in Western New York

When a flu epidemic hits a metropolitan area, it's helpful for public health officials to know how quickly the disease could spread and which residents may be most vulnerable to infection.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

The business cycle drives the spread of viral diseases

A study by Bocconi's Jérôme Adda shows that epidemics spread faster during economic booms because more people are traveling and finds that school shutdowns and transportation network closures are seldom efficient measures

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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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