Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

A flu history: from Spanish flu to swine flu

Since 1900, health authorities have identified three influenza pandemics, which are widespread global outbreaks. Two other ominous outbreaks did not reach that level.

1918-20 Spanish flu: The pandemic against which all others are measured. It infected up to 40 percent of the world's population and killed more than 50 million. About one victim in 15 died, some within 24 hours of their first symptoms. The illness originated in China or the United States, but became known as Spanish flu because Spain had less censorship during World War I, so cases were heavily publicized.

1957-58 Asian flu: This was the first flu strain to be identified early in the pandemic, which allowed the creation of a vaccine to soften its blow.

Its first toll affected schoolchildren, but a second wave in early 1958 hit the elderly hard. About 2 million people died worldwide, including 69,000 in the United States.

1968-69 Hong Kong flu: Pandemic first identified in Hong Kong, where 500,000 people were infected. An estimated 1 million people died worldwide, including about 33,000 in the United States. This virus shared genetic characteristics with the 1957 Asian flu, which lessened its impact because people had built immunities. It peaked in the United States during Christmas vacation, dampening its spread among schoolchildren.

1976 Swine flu scare: Identified when about 200 soldiers at Fort Dix, N.J., got sick and one died. Genetic strands showed that it originated in pigs and carried several similarities to the 1918 pandemic virus. Mass inoculations started, then halted after several people apparently died from the vaccine. The flu never spread beyond the Fort Dix cases, leading to criticism that health authorities had overreacted.

2003 to present, Bird flu: The lethal virus spread mainly among birds, but with limited transmission to humans. Mortality rate has been 60 percent. Officials worry a mutation will allow it to spread through human-to-human contact, setting off a pandemic.

Sources: U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Infectious Disease Research & Policy, University of Minnesota

A flu history: from Spanish flu to swine flu 04/27/09 [Last modified: Monday, May 4, 2009 6:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tuesday's Nothing More concert moved from the State Theatre to Jannus Live in St. Petersburg

    Blogs

    Nothing More was one of the highlights of April's 98 Rockfest, a thoroughly entertaining rock outfit with a larger-than-live stage presence.

    Nothing More performed at 98 Rockfest 2017 in Tampa.
  2. Buccaneers-Vikings Turning Point, Week 3: Overreaction vs. reality

    Bucs

    "None of us really know how this group of 53 guys is going to come together and how we're going to play this season."

    Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs torched a porous Bucs secondary Sunday with eight catches for 173 yards and two touchdowns. [Getty Images]
  3. Triad Retail Media names Sherry Smith as CEO

    Corporate

    ST. PETERSBURG — Triad Retail Media, a St. Petersburg-based digital ads company, said CEO Roger Berdusco is "leaving the company to pursue new opportunities" and a member of the executive team, Sherry Smith, is taking over.

    Roger Berdusco is stepping down as CEO at Triad Retail Media to pursue other opportunities. [Courtesy of Triad Retail Media]
  4. What to watch this week: Fall TV kicks off with 'Will & Grace,' 'Young Sheldon,' return of 'This Is Us'

    Blogs

    September temperatures are still creeping into the 90s, but fall officially started a few days ago. And with that designation comes the avalanche of new and returning TV shows. The Big Bang Theory fans get a double dose of Sheldon Cooper's nerdisms with the return of the titular series for an eleventh season and …

    Sean Hayes, Debra Messing and Megan Mullally in Will & Grace.
  5. Eight refueling jets from Arkansas, 250 people heading to new home at MacDill

    Macdill

    TAMPA — The number of KC-135 refueling jets at MacDill Air Force Base will grow from 18 to 24 with the return of a squadron that once called Tampa home.

    A KC-135 Stratotanker, a military aerial refueling jet, undergoes maintenance at MacDill Air Force Base. The planes, many flying since the late 1950s, are now being flown more than twice as much as scheduled because of ongoing foreign conflicts. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]