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Avian Influenza, the new Spanish flu of 1918?

Updated: Monday, April 24, 2017 1:53 PM 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.

Iran reports H5N1 bird flu outbreak in northern part of country: OIE - Reuters
24 Apr 2017 at 5:38am
Iran reports H5N1 bird flu outbreak in northern part of country: OIE - Reuters
24 Apr 2017 at 5:38am
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24 Apr 2017 at 2:30am
Avian flu restrictions at wildlife park gave the birds another type of fever....
24 Apr 2017 at 2:30am
As Bird Flu Strengthens In China, Midwest Farmers Prepare For The ... - KCUR
24 Apr 2017 at 1:21am
As Bird Flu Strengthens In China, Midwest Farmers Prepare For The ... - KCUR
24 Apr 2017 at 1:21am
Congress, WHO sound the alarm over pandemic bird flu or avian flu ... - Washi...
21 Apr 2017 at 8:07am
Congress, WHO sound the alarm over pandemic bird flu or avian flu ... - Washi...
21 Apr 2017 at 8:07am
No more bird-flu risk in Netherlands; poultry allowed outside again - NL Times
20 Apr 2017 at 8:36am
No more bird-flu risk in Netherlands; poultry allowed outside again - NL Times
20 Apr 2017 at 8:36am
Georgia ends bird flu restrictions for producers - Atlanta Journal Constitution
19 Apr 2017 at 2:28pm
Georgia ends bird flu restrictions for producers - Atlanta Journal Constitution
19 Apr 2017 at 2:28pm
South Korea to keep importing eggs despite bird flu downgrade - WHTC
19 Apr 2017 at 12:18am
South Korea to keep importing eggs despite bird flu downgrade - WHTC
19 Apr 2017 at 12:18am
South Korea to downgrade bird flu alert status from highest level - Reuters
17 Apr 2017 at 10:45pm
South Korea to downgrade bird flu alert status from highest level - Reuters
17 Apr 2017 at 10:45pm
Bird flu redirects trade of U.S. goods - Toledo Blade
17 Apr 2017 at 9:03pm
Bird flu redirects trade of U.S. goods - Toledo Blade
17 Apr 2017 at 9:03pm
Bird flu measures could be lifted this week - Jersey Evening Post
17 Apr 2017 at 1:56am
Bird flu measures could be lifted this week - Jersey Evening Post
17 Apr 2017 at 1:56am
Welcome Easter present for East Anglian free range egg producers hit by restr...
15 Apr 2017 at 10:10pm
Welcome Easter present for East Anglian free range egg producers hit by restr...
15 Apr 2017 at 10:10pm
Free-range egg producer welcomes lifting of bird flu restrictions in time for...
14 Apr 2017 at 2:03am
Free-range egg producer welcomes lifting of bird flu restrictions in time for...
14 Apr 2017 at 2:03am
Outdoor return for hens as bird flu fears fade - BBC News
13 Apr 2017 at 4:08pm
Outdoor return for hens as bird flu fears fade - BBC News
13 Apr 2017 at 4:08pm
Spread of bird flu checked in Alabama, so far - Montgomery Advertiser
13 Apr 2017 at 1:17pm
Spread of bird flu checked in Alabama, so far - Montgomery Advertiser
13 Apr 2017 at 1:17pm
Bird flu: What is it, exactly? - Agri News
13 Apr 2017 at 12:10pm
Bird flu: What is it, exactly? - Agri News
13 Apr 2017 at 12:10pm
Wyre farmer says her hens are 'scared stiff' after bird flu captivity - Lanca...
13 Apr 2017 at 6:39am
Wyre farmer says her hens are 'scared stiff' after bird flu captivity - Lanca...
13 Apr 2017 at 6:39am
Virulent bird flu strain threatens to spill out of China - SciDev.Net
13 Apr 2017 at 5:36am
Virulent bird flu strain threatens to spill out of China - SciDev.Net
13 Apr 2017 at 5:36am
State Vet: Bird flu in Middle TN did not spread - WBIR-TV
12 Apr 2017 at 5:21pm
State Vet: Bird flu in Middle TN did not spread - WBIR-TV
12 Apr 2017 at 5:21pm
China's H7N9 bird flu death toll at 47 in March: government data - Reuters
11 Apr 2017 at 11:41pm
China's H7N9 bird flu death toll at 47 in March: government data - Reuters
11 Apr 2017 at 11:41pm
NEWSFLASH: Bird Flu restrictions lifted for Melton poultry owners - Melton Times
11 Apr 2017 at 9:58am
NEWSFLASH: Bird Flu restrictions lifted for Melton poultry owners - Melton Times
11 Apr 2017 at 9:58am