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'Pale Rider'- will the Spanish Influenza resurface

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Riddickulouse, Jul 3, 2017.

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  1. Over the last couple of years the Ebola virus and Zika virus have devastated communities, but we're rapidly approaching the centenerary of the final year of WW1, and as we also get closer to it I'm reminded of the mother of all flu bugs, so virulent it was responsible for killing an estimated 100 million across the globe. A greater death toll than WW1 + WW2 combined.
    Pale Rider review – painful lessons of the flu pandemic

    The world has seen a series of flu pandemics since early 1918, but the Spanish Influenza A type virus still remains the known 'mother of flu' -
    Table - The Next Influenza Pandemic: Lessons from Hong Kong, 1997 - Volume 5, Number 2—April 1999 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC

    A feature of the time when the Spanish flu pandemic started, was the phrenetic level of activity and movement in the world during the last year of that world war. Medical staff were very short in places like the US and India, as thousands of MOs and nurses had gone to help iin Europe.

    Medical research in Japan of this period offers some guide to the combination of the influenza which had a 2.5% mortality rate amongst 20-40s (considerably higher than the normal 0.1%).
    Markers of Disease Severity in Patients with Spanish Influenza in the Japanese Armed Forces, 1919–1920 - Volume 23, Number 4—April 2017 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC

    Preparing for the unpredictable viral influenza strain needs to look at how others have evolved -
    https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/12/1/pdfs/05-1254.pdf

    The reality at this point is -
    What is known about the Spanish Inflenza was recovered through exhumation of a preserved corpse in Alaska (in 2005) who was known to have died from the virus in 18/19, that virus sample was passed to several groups to conduct their analysis. The knowledge learned from this venture should be consided in context with other more worrying scenarios. Many parts of Alaska and importantly Siberia experienced the lethal effects of the original virus on a fairly broad scale.

    The global warming that is impacting many areas in the Arctic Circle where permafrost is melting. This presents a security threat that pathogens may be released accidentally (as in the instance of a Russian boy who recently contracted anthrax through such a source), but as Daesh, AQ and other looney tunes outfits see the potential to exploit biological agents, don't forget your annual flu shot (hopefully it'll help)!
     
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  2. Purple_Flash

    Purple_Flash LE Moderator

    1819? Surely 1919.
     
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  3. Sorry I'm having some serious fat finger moments tonight, having inadvertantly pressed the widget three times and got it wrong twice.

    There is uncertainty about the actual date of death of the Alaskancorpse exhumed in 2005, so I'd meant to write 18/19 now corrected.
     
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  4. Interesting story about the recovery of the tissue samples here Villager’s remains lead to 1918 flu breakthrough | Geophysical Institute John Hultin completed this not just in 1997 as a 72 year old, but also in 1951 as a younger man. 72 dead out of a population of 80, 90% mortality rate is something not to be scoffed at.

    I have to lie down now, after having sensibly responded to something in CA.
     
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  5. In the western world - no, is the easy answer.
     
  6. The Spanish Flu virus (H1N1) has already revisited us in 1977 and 2009. Without the catastrophic consequences of the 1918 outbreak. Maybe humans have developed some immunity to the worst effects of H1N1 or perhaps modern hygiene, vaccinations and less of a tendency to shovel people into tenements reduces the effectiveness of the disease. We're well overdue a population decimating plague of some sort anyway.
     
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  7. I can see some eco warriors wanting this kind of thing to occur to save the planet.

    Let's just hope there are no Utopia walts out there
     
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  8. We have hygiene, diet and no longer live in slums (in the 19th century form) hence why H1N1 hasn't effected us and it will make a re appearance typically every 30/40 yrs.
    However if H5N1 wen't airborne we're in deep shit.
     
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  9. FORMER_FYRDMAN

    FORMER_FYRDMAN LE Book Reviewer

    Except that, bizarrely, one of the most resilient groups when the flu struck were frontline Tommies.

    I can recommend 'The Plague of the Spanish Lady' if anyone's looking for a good account of the pandemic.

     
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  10. And it's only Monday.....

    Bound to happen. My money would be on something clad to have been eradicated for a while leaving an ever growing population without immunity. Like Smallpox
     
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  11. The fact that it stopped before killing everyone on the planet shows that the survivors must be at least partially immune?
    So if exactly the same strain pops up from some previously deep frozen corpse or some such then it would probably be not much more lethal than any normal flu season (about 500,000 deaths per year).

    More worrying is that the flu virus evolves/mutates at a prodigious rate so it is probably only a matter of time until one of the varieties goes a bit OTT on the killing it's host bit.
     
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  12. Bring on the zombie apocalypse with a sprinkling of Malthus

    Natural ecosystems need a flush now and again and we are just animals, clever but just animals
     
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  13. It doesn't have to be flu, if you had the common cold for much more than 72 hours it would kill you. It appears to be a stable virus, but the thing about mutation is it's entirely random so tomorrow the strain that will wipe out mankind [and the common cold virus] could pop into existence.
     
  14. Latest thinking is that the virus may have crossed from birds to humans in the British rest camps in France.

    There is an annual cycle of bird flu mutation. What seems to happen is that the new virus gets generated during the annual migrations where millions of birds gather.
    The birds then migrate south and pass the virus into domestic flocks, pigs and humans.
    Because the virus is designed to infect birds, it is not easy to directly infect humans but it can make the jump. It seems to prefer going through domestic poultry and other animals before people.

    The Spanish flu variant is probably not so much of a threat. Next year's variation might be crap, or might be deadly. It is like Russian roulette.

    That's why we have the annual Avian Influenza panics when it shows up.
     
  15. The cholera outbreak in Yemen has killed 1300+ already. It will leave the population weakened and what little medical resources left unable to cope with the next disease. I doubt their neighbours will be too concerned until it spreads further.