The Greatest Thing Forgotten

Discussion in 'World War I' started by plan_D, Nov 14, 2005.

  1. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    The Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919 struck the world during the closing stages of World War I, it claimed 25-40 million lives while infecting over one half of the worlds population at some point or another.

    Unlike normal illnesses the influenza strain was more likely to kill people from twenty to forty years old, rather than the usual young children or the elderly.

    Thought to have begun in the U.S at an army base, it spread throughout the world with the mass mobilisation. And it depressed the U.S persons life expectancy by ten years.

    It caused more death and suffering than the Bubonic Plague in the 14th Century, and it caused more death than the Great War itself. Society's answer to this tragedy has been to forget it. Yet, it was a time not only of death but also a time of strain on medical science.

    Medical science had advanced at an alarming rate in the decades before World War I. The Germ Theory and anti-biotics had been developed, it seemed there was nothing medical science couldn't solve. Then the new strain of influenza struck and medical science didn't know what to do. People were dying within hours of catching the disease and the scientists of the time believed it was a bacteria related disease ... they had no clue that it was a virus, which was too small to see with the mircoscopes in those days. Only electro-microscopes can see a virus - and people in the early 20th Century didn't even know the virus existed.

    "It was like looking for a needle in a needle stack without knowing which needle they were looking for, and they couldn't see it even if they found it..."
     
  2. kiwimac

    kiwimac Active Member

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    Apparently the 1918 flu was related to the Bird Flu. I'll see if I can rustle up the links for thats.

    Kiwimac
     
  3. kiwimac

    kiwimac Active Member

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    Here it is:

    Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,4852681-112338,00.html
     
  4. kiwimac

    kiwimac Active Member

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    Here it is:

    Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,4852681-112338,00.html
     
  5. mosquitoman

    mosquitoman Active Member

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    Yep, all that needs to happen now is for H5N1 to infect a human cell which is already infected with a human version of flu virus. Once this happens the DNA of both viruses will combine and human-human transmission is able to occur.
     
  6. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    In terms of numbers, it killed more than the bubonic plague pandemic of the 1300's.

    But in a per capita rate, and the huge impact on society, the black death was far more deadly than the Spanish Flu.
     
  7. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    I don't forward to that happening, especially as no effective treatment has been found yet. It could create a few problems in the world and would spread in a similar way to SARS did a few years ago.
     
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