Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

From parade to pandemic: Museum looks at 1918's deadly flu

On Sept. 28, 1918, in the waning days of World War I, over 200,000 people gathered along Broad Street in Philadelphia for a parade meant to raise funds for the war effort. Among the patriotic throngs cheering for troops and ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

New single vaccination approach to killer diseases

Scientists from the University of Adelaide's Research Centre for Infectious Diseases have developed a single vaccination approach to simultaneously combat influenza and pneumococcal infections, the world's most deadly respiratory ...

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

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 ...

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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1918 flu pandemic

The 1918 flu pandemic (commonly referred to as the Spanish flu) was an influenza pandemic that spread to nearly every part of the world. It was caused by an unusually virulent and deadly influenza A virus strain of subtype H1N1. Historical and epidemiological data are inadequate to identify the geographic origin of the virus. Most of its victims were healthy young adults, in contrast to most influenza outbreaks which predominantly affect juvenile, elderly, or otherwise weakened patients. The flu pandemic has also been implicated in the sudden outbreak of encephalitis lethargica in the 1920s.

The pandemic lasted from March 1918 to June 1920, spreading even to the Arctic and remote Pacific islands. It is estimated that anywhere from 50 to 100 million people were killed worldwide, or the approximate equivalent of one third of the population of Europe. An estimated 500 million people, one third of the world's population (approximately 1.6 billion at the time), became infected.

Scientists have used tissue samples from frozen victims to reproduce the virus for study. Given the strain's extreme virulence there has been controversy regarding the wisdom of such research. Among the conclusions of this research is that the virus kills via a cytokine storm (overreaction of the body's immune system) which explains its unusually severe nature and the concentrated age profile of its victims. The strong immune systems of young adults ravaged the body, whereas the weaker immune systems of children and middle-aged adults caused fewer deaths.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA