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Avian Influenza, the new Spanish flu of 1918?

Updated: Thursday, December 14, 2017 1:12 AM EDT
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Avian Influenza, the new Spanish flu of 1918?

The flu epidemic of 1918 was one of the worst diseases that Americans have had to face. The virus killed an estimated 20 million people in the US and other countries. The United States lost over a 500,000 people between September 1918 and June 1919. Even now no one really knows why the Virus was so deadly.

Dubbed the Spanish flu, like most flus, it started with aches and the fever. The disease turned it's victim's faces black, the bottom of their feet turned black and they started coughing blood. In days, sometimes hours, those infected with the disease would drown, their lungs filled with a bloody liquid. Almost everyone caught the flu in one form or another. 2.5 percent of it's victims died, making it almost 25 times more deadly then any other flu to date. The Spanish flu left behind more questions then were answered. For instance why did mostly young healthy people have a harder time with the disease. And why did it never reappear?

Researchers are still looking for those answers, and some new answers may be coming to light. Scientists have reconstructed the genetic code of the deadly 1918 "Spanish flu," which swept the globe and killed an estimated 20 to 40 million people. Among their findings: The 1918 virus strain developed in birds and was similar to the "bird flu" that today has spurred fears of another worldwide epidemic. By studying the once deadly 1918 virus's genetic information, scientists may become better able to predict future pandemics, or widespread epidemics.

It may also aid the development of new vaccines, antiviral medicines, and other treatments to cope with flus. Another study, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that combining pieces of the 1918 strain with a mouse flu virus results in a very lethal flu. Health officials worry that another scenario, like the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, may be developing in Asia.

That area of the world is currently experiencing a massive avian influenza outbreak. Which has infected hundreds of millions of birds and 76 confirmed human avian influenza related deaths. So far the disease isn't known to have developed into a strain that can easily pass from person to person. This however is one of the biggest fears, that the H5N1 strain will somehow combine with a human flu virus and cause a potentially uncontrollable pandemic among people.

This article is combined from information received from,

CDC
WHO
NPR
And numerous other sources.

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South Korea Confirms Presence of H5N6 Bird Flu - IR INSIDER (blog)
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12 Dec 2017 at 7:43am
UK bird flu threat remains low following Netherlands outbreak ... - FarmingUK
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S. Korea confirms highly pathogenic bird flu at duck farm - The Korea Herald
11 Dec 2017 at 7:19pm
S. Korea confirms highly pathogenic bird flu at duck farm - The Korea Herald
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S. Korea confirms new H5N6-strain bird flu at duck farm - The Mainichi
11 Dec 2017 at 5:43pm
S. Korea confirms new H5N6-strain bird flu at duck farm - The Mainichi
11 Dec 2017 at 5:43pm
Netherlands confirms highly pathogenic bird flu outbreak: OIE - Reuters
11 Dec 2017 at 11:04am
Netherlands confirms highly pathogenic bird flu outbreak: OIE - Reuters
11 Dec 2017 at 11:04am
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11 Dec 2017 at 10:35am
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11 Dec 2017 at 10:35am
S. Korea culls 76000 ducks after confirming bird flu outbreak - The Malaysian...
11 Dec 2017 at 2:38am
S. Korea culls 76000 ducks after confirming bird flu outbreak - The Malaysian...
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Fight to contain bird flu outbreak - Khmer Times - Khmer Times
10 Dec 2017 at 5:51pm
Fight to contain bird flu outbreak - Khmer Times - Khmer Times
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Housed free-range period extended as bird flu warnings continue ... - Agriland
10 Dec 2017 at 4:02am
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10 Dec 2017 at 4:02am
Bird flu outbreak in Kampong Cham - Khmer Times
9 Dec 2017 at 4:26am
Bird flu outbreak in Kampong Cham - Khmer Times
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Bird flu returns in Cambodia - Bangkok Post
9 Dec 2017 at 3:48am
Bird flu returns in Cambodia - Bangkok Post
9 Dec 2017 at 3:48am
Bird flu drives up egg prices | Daily News - IOL - Independent Online
8 Dec 2017 at 1:03pm
Bird flu drives up egg prices | Daily News - IOL - Independent Online
8 Dec 2017 at 1:03pm
Bird flu: Dutch farmers ordered to keep poultry indoors | The Seattle ... - S...
8 Dec 2017 at 6:54am
Bird flu: Dutch farmers ordered to keep poultry indoors | The Seattle ... - S...
8 Dec 2017 at 6:54am
Egg prices to jump up to 20% over bird flu | Fin24 - Fin24
8 Dec 2017 at 4:04am
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8 Dec 2017 at 4:04am
No new bird flu cases in the Cape - EWN - Eyewitness News
7 Dec 2017 at 10:54pm
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7 Dec 2017 at 10:54pm
Bird flu controlled, but vigilance needed - Business Day
7 Dec 2017 at 9:12pm
Bird flu controlled, but vigilance needed - Business Day
7 Dec 2017 at 9:12pm
AU tackles bird flu - The Punch
5 Dec 2017 at 4:04pm
AU tackles bird flu - The Punch
5 Dec 2017 at 4:04pm
P7.7M from China to boost Pampanga's anti-bird flu program | SunStar - Sun.Star
5 Dec 2017 at 5:25am
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