Search This Blog

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Influenza

The word influenza is derived from the Italian word Influentia, meaning “influenced by the stars.” This refers to the cause of the disease, which was once ascribed to unfavorable astrological influences.

The word 'influenza' was first used in English to refer to the disease we know today in 1703 by J. Hugger of the University of Edinburgh in his thesis De Catarrho epidemio, vel Influenza, prout in India occidentali sese ostendit.

It is believed that influenza may have spread from Europe to the Americas as early as the European colonization of the New World since almost the entire indigenous population of the Antilles was killed by an epidemic resembling influenza that broke out in 1493, after the arrival of Christopher Columbus.

A form of avian flu was first identified in Italy in 1878.

The first known case of the 1918 influenza pandemic was observed on March 4, 1918, when company cook Albert Gitchell reported sick at Fort Riley, Kansas.

The contagious disease was originally named "influentia coeli", as it was thought to be due to the evil "influence" of the stars.

Wartime censors minimized early reports of illness and mortality in Britain, France, Germany and the United States, but newspapers were free to report the epidemic's effects in neutral Spain, creating a false impression of Spain as especially hard hit—thus the pandemic's nickname Spanish flu.

An influenza pandemic of unprecedented venom the Spanish flu swept the world; it killed 50 to 100 million of them—three to five percent of the world's population—making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history.

Influenza ward at Walter Reed Hospital during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918–1919

The unusually severe disease killed up to 20% of those infected, as opposed to the usual flu epidemic mortality rate of 0.1%

More people died of the 1918 flu pandemic than in the recent World War.

Flu kills 26,000 people in the US every year.

In the United States, the peak month of flu activity is February.

A flu virus can survive on most surfaces for only 48 hours, but can live on a bank-note for 17 days.

No comments:

Post a Comment