1918 Flu Virus

1918 Flu
The flu of 1918, in France called "Spanish flu" is caused by a strain (H1N1) particularly virulent and contagious flu that has spread into a pandemic from 1918 to 1919. This pandemic has killed 30 million according to the Institut Pasteur, and up to 100 million according to some recent reassessments. It would be the deadliest pandemic in history in a short time before the 34 million people (estimate) of the Black Death.

His nickname "Spanish influenza" comes from the fact that only Spain - not involved in the First World War - was in 1918, freely publish information about the epidemic. French newspapers spoke thus of the "Spanish Flu" which was rampant "in Spain without mentioning the french case which were kept secret so as not to inform the enemy that the army was weakened.

Apparently originating in China, this virus would be spent, according to controversial assumptions now, duck and pork to humans, or a controversial hypothesis also directly from birds to humans. She quickly won the United States, where the virus had mutated to become more lethal (for ~ 3% of patients, as against less than 1 / 1000 for other outbreaks of flu, this new strain is 30 times more deadly than the flu Commons). She became a "pandemic" (worldwide circulation disease), as it passes the United States to Europe, then throughout the world through exchanges between the metropoles and their colonies.

She made about 408 000 deaths in France, but the censorship of war in limita echo, newspapers announcing a new epidemic in Spain, a neutral country and therefore less censored, while the epidemic was already its ravages in France. It took place mostly during the winter of 1918-1919, with 1 million patients, and 20 to 40 million deaths, according to first estimates very imprecise due to lack of statistics compiled at the time. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the maximum range remains unclear but was increased to 50-100 million, after inclusion of retrospective evaluations on the Asian, African and South American.

In a few months, the pandemic was in any case more victims than the First World War, which ended this year 1918, some countries will be further affected in 1919.

The virus was devastating: foci were located in several countries and continents at a time in less than 3 months, and both sides of the United States in seven days. Locally, two or three successive waves, which seem related to the development of transport by ship and rail in particular, especially the transport of troops.

This pandemic has raised awareness of the international nature of the threat of epidemics and diseases, and hygiene requirements and a monitoring network to cope. There is thus one of the clauses of the charter of the League, to create a Committee of International Health, which will finally become the World Health Organization (WHO).

Medical impact, statistical discrepancies
Deaths were mainly young adults, which may surprise: young adults are usually the generation most resistant to flu. This was first explained by the fact that this age group (especially for professional reasons or war) moves more or live in places where she meets many people (workshops, barracks ...). The multiplicity of contacts increases the risk of being contaminated. This finding was made by the historians (particularly during the cholera epidemic in Liege in 1866). In fact it is the immune system in this age group that has reacted too strongly to this new virus, triggers a "cytokine storm" that damaged all the organs, to kill the number of patients.

It is estimated that 50% of the global population was infected (or at times 1 billion), 60 to 100 million people died, with a consensus of 60 million deaths.

The flu is characterized first by a very high contagiousness: one in two contaminated. Then it is characterized by an incubation of 2 to 3 days, followed by 3 to 5 days of symptoms: fever, weakened immune system, which ultimately allow the development of complications normally benign, but here fatal in 3% of cases, 20 times more than the flu "normal." It does however weaken patients who die of complications arising. Without antibiotics (yet discovered in twenty years by Duchesne, but recognized a decade later and used only in the early 40s), these complications could not be hindered.

The mortality was due to a bacterial lung infection, but also due to pneumonia virus. Preferential Reaching young adults might be explained by a relative immunization of older people who have previously been infected with a virus close.

The virus of 1918
Genetic characteristics of the virus have been established through the conservation of tissue removed during autopsies on corpses recent Inuit and Norwegian preserved in permafrost (frozen ground of the Nordic countries). This virus is an H1N1 flu.

* Virus father unknown strain: influenza virus source, but highly contagious virulent normal, mutation gave the virus of Spanish flu. The virus was identified father and strictly followed only from April until June 1918, probably while rife since the winter 1917-1918 in China.
* Virus of the Spanish flu strain H1N1 viruses with high virulence apparently appeared in the United States and eventually killed more than 21 million people throughout the world, this name usually also includes his father virus. This version is rife in two lethal killer waves, one from mid-September to December 1918, the other from February to May 1919. All continents and all populations have been severely affected.

In technical terms, its own characteristics pathogens are not students because of the absence of virus, no levy could be kept in a condition good enough.

It is thus only by studying the family of influenza, as a whole, we can understand the mechanisms which can be summarized like this:

* A very high contagiousness, inducing a behavior epidemic or pandemic
* Strong variability, leading to variable virulence and the ineffectiveness of immunization from one year to another,
* Virulence of this strain particularly high (severe weakness), and
* The fact that, ultimately, this virus does weaken the immune system, and is not in itself a source of death (it is the complications that accompany the flu is lethal depending on the degree of weakening organization).

The absence of antibiotic (which would not have stopped the disease but only viral complications bacteriological) was also crucial.

Finally, as regards the consequences, the key is awareness of the threat to the biological world, an epidemic starting in China could eventually threaten the U.S. population, of the Europe, and all statements of the world. It followed the creation by the League of Nations-a-body health and medical world, which later became the World Health Organization (WHO).

It is also noteworthy, given the cycle of recurrence of outbreaks of deadly flu s'espa├žant, found at most, 39 years, most recently in 1968, the WHO provides "statistically" the emergence of pandemic influenza Fallen 2010 to 2015. That is why, in recent years, a number of studies are devoted to the virus suddenly the Spanish flu, some designed to retrieve stem intact tangibly students, to enable the building of adequate defenses. This also explains the quick and huge in 2009 for the start of a pandemic of swine flu, known as influenza A. Avian Influenza (H5N1) crystallizes not only the medical risks but also real fears much more abstract.

This also explains the quick and huge in 2009 for the start of a pandemic of swine flu, known as influenza A. Avian Influenza (H5N1) crystallizes not only the medical risks but also real fears much more abstract.

The pandemic of 1918-1919 was, with 60 million dead under the generally accepted consensus, the first major pandemic of the modern era. It is one of the largest human pandemics, in numbers comparable to those of victims of the plague and AIDS. The latter, however, continues to kill beyond the 24 million victims already accounted for.

Read also Influenza A (H1N1) in 2009