Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Coronavirus second wave may be even worse: US health chief

A second wave of the novel coronavirus in the US could be even more destructive because it will likely collide with the beginning of flu season, one of the country's top health officials said Tuesday.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

6 lessons we can learn from past pandemics

With 1.4 million confirmed cases and 81,000 deaths worldwide as of this writing, the coronavirus pandemic has become a global tragedy unlike any in our lifetimes. But, as historians remind us, this is neither our first nor ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

COVID-19: Flattening the curve

Media coverage of COVID-19 often includes the phrase "flattening the curve." Dr. Clayton Cowl, chair of Mayo Clinic's Division of Preventive, Occupational and Aerospace Medicine, says the phrase refers to an attempt to stop ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Coronavirus: How behaviour can help control the spread of COVID-19

Amid the carnage of the First World War, a flu epidemic took hold in the front-line trenches and subsequently spread around the world, infecting one-quarter of the world's total population and ultimately killing more people ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

China's recent history of deadly epidemics

China has been the origin of several major viral epidemics over recent decades, with the current outbreak of a new deadly coronavirus emerging in the central city of Wuhan.

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: ...

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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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