Spanish Influenza 1918. Bird Flu Pandemic. Similar virus. Flu vaccine

Spanish Influenza Horror Of 1918 Ready To Return As Bird Flu Starts Killing Again!

Spanish Influenza Pandemic 1918

The Spanish Flu Pandemic, also known as the Great Influenza Pandemic (worldwide outbreak of disease), the 1918 Flu Epidemic, the Spanish Lady and La Grippe, was an unusually severe and deadly strain of avian influenza (bird flu), a viral infectious disease, that killed some 25 million to 50 million people worldwide in 1918 and 1919 — Some experts even estimate that the death toll may have been as high as 100 million. It is thought to have been the most deadly pandemic so far in human history.

The nations of the Allied side of World War I frequently called it the “Spanish Flu.” This was mainly because the flu pandemic received greater press attention in Spain than in the rest of the world, as Spain was not involved in the war, resulting in no wartime censorship. In Spain it was called “The French Flu”. Spain did have one of the worst early outbreaks of the disease, with some 8 million people infected in May 1918. It was also known as “only the flu” or “the grippe” by public health and government officials seeking to prevent panic.

Now, scientists claim they have found that the avian flu that’s emerging in the Far East shares some of the same genetic characteristics as the flu virus that caused the 1918 flu pandemic.

Understanding what made the Spanish flu so lethal may lead to new vaccine targets and antiviral drugs that might protect and treat people should the avian flu H5N1 (bird influenza) become a pandemic.

Scientists are building protein-coding sequences of the 1918 virus. Samples of the virus were obtained from the lungs of victims, from the UK and USA.

Using these materials, we have been able to piece together the entire genetic coding of the 1918 virus

Study co-author Dr. Jeffery Taubenberger, chief of the department of molecular pathology at the U.S. Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, as published in “Nature”. October 2005 Update.

Great Influenza Pandemic Geographic Origin

Many infections with similar but milder symptoms were recorded in the spring of 1918, with sore throat, headaches, dizziness, and loss of appetite. It has been proposed that the earliest known cases of this flu were in Haskell County, Kansas, in January 1918. Several local men were inducted into the army at Fort Riley, Kansas, where on March 4, 1918, company cook Albert Gitchell reported to the infirmary with a temperature of 103°F (39.5°C). He was soon followed by Corporal Lee Drake and Sergeant Adolph Hurby. Within two days 522 men at the camp had reported sick.

In the summer, infections became much more severe. In August 1918 the most deadly Spanish Influenza version broke out simultaneously in three disparate locations — Brest, France; Boston, Massachusetts; and Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Many of the worst outbreaks of the “Flu” were among soldiers, both at the front lines, in camps and in crowded troop ships. The Influenza Epidemic soon spread into civilian populations. Severe outbreaks often required hospitalisation and even with the best of care often killed one third of those infected.

This avian flu strain was unusual in commonly killing many young and healthy victims (aged between 20 and 40 years old), as opposed to more common influenzas which strike higher death rates among newborns and the old and infirm. People without symptoms could be struck suddenly and be rendered too feeble to walk within hours; many would die the next day.

Symptoms included a blue tint to the face and coughing up blood caused by severe obstruction of the lungs. Some physicians sadly described how it was often difficult to tell the difference between European and Negro victims, due to the “blue colour” of the skin as a result of being starved of oxygen.

John Barry, in his book “The Great Influenza”, describes how Influenza Epidemic victims bled from their mouth, nose, eyes and ears.

As their lungs filled…the patients became short of breath and increasingly cyanotic*. After gasping for several hours they became delirious and incontinent, and many died struggling to clear their airways of a blood-tinged froth that sometimes gushed from their nose and mouth. It was a dreadful business.

Isaac Starr, University of Pennsylvania 3rd year medical student, 1919 Witness of Spanish Influenza Pandemic 1918 – 1919

Mortality in the fast-progressing cases was primarily from pneumonia, by virus-induced consolidation. Slower progressing cases featured secondary bacterial pneumonias while some suspect neural involvement led to psychiatric disorders in a minority of cases. Some deaths resulted from malnourishment and even animal attacks in overwhelmed, desperate communities.

Global mortality rate from the Spanish Influenza Flu Pandemic was estimated at 2.5%–5% of the population, with some 20% of the world population suffering from the disease to some extent. This influenza disease spread across the world killing twenty-five million in the course of six months; some estimates put the total of those killed worldwide at over twice that number, possibly as high as 100 million.

An estimated 17 million died in India alone, with a mortality rate of about 5% of the population. In the Indian Army, almost 22% of troops who caught the disease died of it. About 28% of the population of the U.S. suffered from the disease, and some 500,000–675,000 died from it. Some 200,000 were killed in Britain and more than 400,000 in France. The death rate was especially high in indigenous peoples where some entire villages perished in Alaska (It is one of these victim’s DNA that is currently being studied in 2005) and southern Africa.

Fourteen percent of the population of the Fiji Islands died in a period of only two weeks while 22% of the population of Western Samoa died. By July of 1919, 257,363 deaths in Japan were attributed to Flu Pandemic, giving an estimated Japanese mortality rate of 0.425%, much lower than nearly all other Asian countries for which data are available.

Drugs such as Tamiflu® (oseltamavir phosphate) are being used in the battle against bird flu H5N1. There is also a fascinating new claim that most cold and flu virus may be killed using a safe, fast, easy and low cost method. It may be used almost anywhere in the world. This finding may be invaluable to sufferers worldwide, especially to poorer communities, and under-developed nations. It is believed that this natural method may be a solid adjunct for antiviral treatment and vaccine immunisation. Could this simple but highly effective treatment method help prevent an influenza epidemic?

Is this a natural bird flu treatment? Perhaps even an actual bird flu cure?

Social Facts Of 1918 Influenza Epidemic

While it usually only infected less than one-third of the population in most places and killed only a fraction of those infected, there were a number of towns in several countries where the entire population was wiped out. The only sizable inhabited place with no documented outbreak of the flu in 1918–1919 was the island of Marajo at the mouth of the Amazon River in Brazil.

Many cities, states, and countries enforced restrictions on public gatherings and travel to try to stay the epidemic. In many places theatres, dance halls, churches and other public gathering places were shut down for over a year. Quarantines were enforced with little success. Some communities placed armed guards at the borders and turned back or quarantined any travellers. One U.S. town even outlawed shaking hands.

Even in areas where morbidity was low, those incapacitated by the Spanish Influenza were often so numerous as to bring much of everyday life to a stop. Some communities closed all stores or required customers to not enter the store but place their orders outside the store for filling. There were many reports of places with no healthy health care workers to tend the sick and no able bodied grave diggers to inter the dead. Mass graves were dug by steam shovel and bodies buried without coffins in many places.

The social effects were intense due to the speed of the epidemic. AIDS killed 25 million in its first 25 years, but the Flu Pandemic may have killed as many in only 25 weeks beginning in September 1918.

The Spanish Flu vanished within eighteen months, and the actual cause was not determined at the time. It appears to have been an H1 virus type. (The outbreaks of bird flu in Hong Kong in 1997 and other parts of Asia since then are an H5 type.) The influenza virus was not understood by medical science at the time, and most contemporary effort was spent in an unsuccessful quest to find a vaccine to the supposed bacterial cause of the disease, Bacillus influenza, which was in fact only one of several causes of secondary pneumonia associated with the epidemic. Two much milder influenza pandemics followed the Spanish Flu: the Asian Flu in 1957, and the Hong Kong Flu in 1968.

It has been suggested that the stresses of combat, possibly combined with the effects of chemical warfare, may have weakened soldiers’ immune systems thereby increasing their vulnerability to the influenza disease and accelerating its spread. Certainly the close quarters and mass movement of troops accelerated the flu process.

The Great Flu Recent Research

In September 2000, Noymer and Garenne published a study that poses an ætiological theory explaining the unusual W-shaped mortality age profile of the virus. This profile is characterised by a mode in the 25–34-year age group. Usually, influenza has a U-shaped profile, being most deadly to the young and the old. Additionally, after the pandemic the difference in life expectancy between men and women decreased (women had a historically longer life expectancy). Nome and Garenne have causally linked these two anomalies with the predominantly-male mortality of tuberculosis.

In October 2002, the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology teamed up with a microbiologist from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Together, they started to reconstruct the Spanish Flu. In an experiment, published in October 2002, they were successful in creating a virus with two 1918 genes. This virus was much more deadly to mice than other constructs containing genes from contemporary influenza virus. The experiments were conducted under high bio-safety conditions at a laboratory of the US Department of Agriculture in Athens, Georgia.

In the February 6, 2004, edition of Science magazine it was reported that two teams of researchers, one led by Sir John Skehel, director of the National Institute for Medical Research in London and another by Professor Ian Wilson of the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego had managed to synthesize the hemagglutinin protein responsible for the 1918 outbreak of Spanish Flu by piecing together DNA procured from a lung sample taken from the body of an Inuit woman buried in the Alaskan tundra and a number of preserved samples taken from American soldiers of the First World War. The two teams had analysed the structure of the gene and discovered how subtle alterations to the shape of a protein molecule had allowed it to move from birds to humans with such devastating effects.

Scientists recreating the 1918 flu virus say ‘it came from birds’. In October 5, 2005 researchers announced that the genetic sequence of the 1918 flu strain had been reconstructed using historic tissue samples. The 2005 bird flu strain spreading through Asia has some features of the 1918 strain but is so far not able to pass easily from human to human.

Some scientists are so concerned about the possibility of an imminent killer-flu pandemic they have family stockpiles of antiviral drugs, just in case…
A particularly virulent strain of avian flu, known as H5N1, has already killed more than 60 people in four Asian countries since 2003…Such a virus is suspected to have caused the 1918-1919 influenza outbreak which killed about 40 million people – 1.5 per cent of the world’s population at the time…

We’re closer to a flu pandemic than we have been for many years…If it happens in Beijing today, it’ll be in New York tomorrow…

Prof Mackenzie, a member of the World Health Organisation’s Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network. 23 Sept. 2005 Update. Source “The Age”

How Is Infection With H5N1 Virus In Humans Treated?

The H5N1 virus currently infecting birds in Asia that has caused human illness and death is resistant to amantadine and rimantadine, two antiviral medications commonly used for influenza. Two other antiviral medications, oseltamavir (tamiflu ®) and zanamavir, would probably work to treat flu caused by the H5N1 virus, though studies still need to be done to prove that they work. 2005 Update: Current research is proving successful.

In 1999, The US Food and Drug Administration approved these two new drugs — that are effective for the treatment of both influenza A and influenza B. These drugs, called neuraminidase inhibitors, block the normal function of the viral neuraminidase.

(Source: NFID)

Studies of Oseltamivir, show promise against H5N1 Influenza Virus – bird flu virus. The drug dramatically boosted the survival rate of infected mice.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), funded this mice research in mid – 2005 and the results are published online in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

British researchers reported finding H5N1 flu virus in the spinal fluid of a young boy who died of influenza in Vietnam earlier in the year 2005, an indication that H5N1 is able to infect the human brain.

The Avian (Bird) Flu: Herbs, Minerals, And Other Home Remedies May Prevent An Illness

People worldwide are seeking drug free, natural, alternative methods and medicine to fight and treat the avian (bird) influenza.

It is too early, and not enough scientific information is available to make personal recommendations. However it is worth considering the alternatives/alternative medicine and remedy that millions use every cold and flu season to build and strengthen their immune systems.

Strong nutrition, healthy eating and clean, sanitary hygiene procedures are vital in your safe preparation against the bird flu – avian influenza.

There are effective alternatives to the flu vaccination. Many people refuse the vaccination and seem perfectly safe by taking natural immune system boosters and natural supplements that combat and relieve symptoms of the flu. During the current flu season these remedies take on an additional importance as billions worldwide will not be able to obtain a flu vaccination, including many people who are in the highest risk categories.