Bird Flu: Is a Pandemic Looming in Our Future?
Flu Pandemics of the 20th Century
Pandemics occur when a simultaneous, widespread outbreak of influenza A virus occurs worldwide, regardless of sanitation, hygiene, or standards of health. Pandemics are possible when a specific, highly virulent strain of flu undergoes a genetic change that allows it to circulate within a population that has no immunity to the novel strain. “Spanish flu” of 1918 was by far the most devastating, killing between 20 and 40 million people. The Asian flu killed 100,000 people in 1957, while 700,000 people died in the 1969 Hong Kong flu pandemic. Health officials are concerned that a number of factors have lined up to set the stage for the first worldwide influenza outbreak of the 21st Century.
- World Health Organization. April, 2011. Avian influenza. Retrieved 5-1-2013 from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/avian_influenza/en/index.html
- Policemen in Seattle wearing masks made by the Red Cross, during the influenza epidemic. December 1918. Retrieved 5-1-2013 from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:165-WW-269B-25-police-l.jpg.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2005. CDC Resources for Pandemic Flu. Retrieved 5-1-2013, from http://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2013. Avian Influenza A (H7N9) Virus. Retrieved 4-29-2013 from http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/h7n9-virus.htm.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2013. Background on Human Infections with other Avian Influenza Viruses. Retrieved 4-29-2013 from http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/h5n1-human-infections.htm.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2005. Flu.gov. Retrieved 5-1-2013, from http://www.flu.gov
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