Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

'Hibernating' research studies on standby to tackle next flu pandemic

The University of Liverpool is improving the UK's preparedness for another influenza pandemic through its involvement in an innovative network of research studies 'hibernating' on standby ready to be activated if an outbreak ...

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

The flu is coming: Are we ready for the next pandemic?

Even though many people dismiss and misunderstand it—calling everything from a cold to a stomach bug "the flu"— influenza actually claims 12,000 to 56,000 lives in the U.S. every year. And that's in a normal flu season.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

100 years after influenza pandemic, why should I get a flu shot?

Fall 2018 marks the 100-year anniversary of the 1918 influenza pandemic, which infected roughly one-third of the world's population and killed more than 50 million people, including 675,000 in the United States, according ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Lessons from the 1918 flu pandemic, 100 years on

This year marks the centenary of the 1918 influenza pandemic, the worst flu outbreak in recorded history. A new study into the human, viral and societal factors behind its severity provides valuable lessons that could save ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Why pandemic influenza is so deadly – revealed

The Spanish flu virus infected a third of the world's population 100 years ago and claimed the lives of up to 100m people. The virus continued to evolve and its descendants went on to cause all subsequent flu pandemics, leading ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Flu plane: Are we really ready for a global pandemic?

An Emirates airliner was quarantined at John F Kennedy International Airport on September 5 after several passengers reported flu-like symptoms. Oxiris Barbot, New York City's acting health commissioner, said the cause of ...

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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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