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Spanish Flu Epidemic 1918


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Medusa
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« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2009, 05:41:09 pm »

The Swine Flu - Swine Virus Epidemic


In the 1970s, the CDC feared an outbreak of a flu previously only seen in pigs. They put the nation on the alert to prevent a pandemic such as when 50 million people died in 1918 from the Spanish Flu. Luckily, the virus never reached that level of infectiousness.

The sequence of events began in February 1976, when a soldier at Fort Dix, New Jersey died. Medical examiners found that he had died from a type of Influenza A that they thought only pigs could catch. They found at least 8 other soldiers with this same virus. The medical community became extremely worried. If this virus could "leap across species" us humans did not have a natural way to fight it. The swine flu could devastate the world before the doctors could find a cure.

With 50 million people having died in 1919 from a "normal" flu, the world health organizations went into immediate action. The head of the CDC, Dr. Spenser advised a massive vaccination effort. President Nixon went in front of TV cameras and vowed to vaccinate "every man, woman and child" in March 1976.

The vaccine was ready for rollout in September 1976 - and there had been no new cases at ALL by that point. The public had lost enthusiasm. Yet the vaccine went out, and in the next few months, 45 million people were vaccinated.

Unfortunately, the vaccine had side effects. 52 people died from complications with the vaccine and another 600 were hospitalized. The CDC shut down the vaccine dispersal in December 1976. In the meantime, no new swine flu cases were ever reported.

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« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2009, 05:08:26 pm »

History of Flu Epidemics

Over the decades, the flu has become easier and easier to deal with. In the past, the flu has claimed millions of lives due to poor sanitary conditions and medical resources.

Influenza, or The Flu for short, is a general name given to any one of many virusses that cause a serious throat / lung infection. Each year, a certain strain becomes prevalent and strikes. When this happens in one country or area it is called an epidemic; when it happens around the world it is called a pandemic.

One of the worst flu strains in recent history happened in the winter of 1918 - 1919. Named the "Spanish Flu", this strain went around the world and killed somewhere between 20 million and 50 million people. In the US, 500,000 people died. At the time, flu transmissions were not understood and there were no vaccines. More people died in this flu season than had died in all of World War I.

Luckily, when the Asian Flu began making its rounds in 1957 - 1958, doctors had developed vaccines and actively began fighting it and publicizing flu information. While 70,000 people died in the US, many felt this was but a drop in the bucket compared to how many could have died.

The next large outbreak to hit was in 1968, with the Hong Kong flu. Again, doctors actively fought this with vaccines, information and prevention. Only around 34,000 people died in the US as a result.

Even with our greater population in modern times, around 36,000 people die each year from the flu in the US.

We have been very lucky to not have any large outbreaks since 1968. This can in part be attributed by active monitoring and work by the CDC and the World Health Organization. Also, most people are now much more aware of how the flu is transmitted, and take steps to keep themselves and those around them safe
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« on: July 24, 2009, 02:12:32 am »

The Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 killed more people than World War I. It is known as the worst outbreak of an epidemic in the history of mankind. This epidemic is estimated to have killed from 20 to 40 million people since its initial outbreak.  More people died to this disease in a single year than people died in the four years epidemic of the Black Death Bubonic plague. This was also known as “La Grippe” the influenza.#

The flu started in The United states and then it also appeared in Africa. It then spread across Europe up to France and soon spread across every corner of the globe. The cause of the Spanish flu was an unusually sever strain of A strain influenza virus. The victims of this virus were healthy young adults rather than the elderly or weakened patients whom influenza normally affected. This flu came in three different waves killing many millions of people in each wave. It even spread across to the pacific very rapidly due to its extremely high infection rate. The severities of the symptoms were suspected to be caused by cytokine storms.

Spanish Flu 1918
Spanish Flu 1918

This Spanish flu epidemic affected more healthy young adults than the elderly and the sick. This is because the virus strain was caused a cytokine storm which excited the immune system in the body to a level where it destroyed the body. The immune systems that were strong were affected more as in the case of healthy young adults. While children and old people who had comparatively weaker immune systems were not affected to that great an extent. This research was later done by studying the tissue sample of the frozen victims and reproducing the virus. However, for a virus this dangerous, the study was being highly disputed by many authorities.

A number of towns in many parts of the world were completely wiped from the face of the earth due to this disease. Even in areas were death tolls were low, the people who were suspected of the illness were so many that everyday life in the society was coming to a halt. Many communities and stores required their customers to come in only if they were wearing a mask.
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