|Spanish Flu of 1918 bshm.org.uk|
|An electron micrograph showing recreated 1918 influenza virionsen.wikipedia.org|
|the Spanish flu, 1918 www.tes.com|
|The Spanish flu .bbc.com|
Given below are some important facts of Spanish Flu of 1918:
01. The shocking fact is Spanish flu killed more people in 24 weeks than HIV/AIDS killed in 24 years and the black death lasted for a long time.
02. In this pandemic young adults were killed in large number.
03. During the period between 1918–1919, 99% of deaths in the U.S. occurred in people under 65, and nearly half of deaths were in young adults 20 to 40 years old.
04. Like wise death was quite common among pregnant women because the virus could weaken the respiratory system.
05. Yet another noticeable fact is in 1918 adults above 70 had a sort of partial protection against the Spanish flu because of exposure to the Russian flu Pandemic of 1899-90.
06. Another strange fact was this influenza was worse in winter and widespread in the summer and autumn (in the Northern Hemisphere).
07 .The 1918 flu spread rapidly, killing 25 million people in just the first six months.
08. Over crowding, mass gathering and social contacts accelerated the spread of this influenza.
09. During the war time (WWI), troop movements, mass medical camps further triggered the spread. So, death rate can be attributed to crowding in military camps and urban environments, as well as poor nutrition and sanitation, which suffered during wartime.
10. The 1918 pandemic came to be dubbed the Spanish flu not because it originated there but because ''Spain'' remained neutral in the war and so reported freely on the outbreak.
11. The U.S. and other countries at war did not want the soldiers and others to know about the severity of the disease; reason: it might damage their morale.
12. Some Historians now believe this air-bone avian virus most probably originated near Fort Riley, Kansas, in March 1918. Its place of origin is still debatable.
13. Death in the initial wave first half of 1918 was relatively low; highest death rate in the second wave October through December; More lethal than the first but less so than the 2nd was the third wave - spring of 1919.
14. Most victims were certain ethnic groups who had no previous exposure to the flu. example Native American Indians.
15. No specific anti-viral therapies were available during the 1918 flu.
Above image: A cytokine storm is an ''overproduction of immune cells and their activating compounds (cytokines), which, in a flu infection, is often associated with a surge of activated immune cells into the lungs. The resulting lung inflammation and fluid buildup can lead to respiratory distress and can be contaminated by a secondary bacterial pneumonia -- often enhancing the mortality in patients''..(https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140227142250.html) ..........................................
Normally, most influenza outbreaks disproportionately kill the very young and the very old, with a higher survival rate for those in between, But, the chilling fact about the Spanish flu is it caused higher mortality rate than projected among young adults. Medical researchers came up with possible explanations for the high mortality rate among young adults in the 1918 pandemic. Some were of the view the virus turned deadly because it triggered a cytokine storm. (see the image above).
However, a 2007 analysis of medical reports on the early pandemic published in medical journals from the active period observed that the viral infection was no more aggressive than previous influenza strains.The influencing factors in this case were undernourishment, overcrowded medical camps and hospitals, and poor hygiene. They caused bacterial super infection that resulted in the death of most of the victims, typically after a somewhat prolonged death bed.
In the past decades various studies have been undertaken as to the total death toll of 1918 Spanish flue. A 1991 estimate says the pandemic killed 25–39 million people. However, a 2005 estimate put death toll at probably 50 million (less than 3% of the global population), and possibly as high as 100 million (more than 5%). A clear estimate is not yet available. As for India that was ruled by the Raj 12-17 million people died ( about 5% of the population). The death toll in India's British-ruled districts was 13.88 million About China, the estimates are at variance and on an average it was more than 1.5 million people.
The following are the casualty reports in other countries: Iran: High mortality rat; about between 902,400 and 2,431,000, or 8% to 22% of the total population died; Japan: 23 million people were affected, at least 390,000 died; The Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia): about 1.5 million death a population of 30 million people; USA: About 28% of the population of 105 million became infected, and 500,000 to 675,000 died (0.48 to 0.64 percent of the population); death was widespread among native American Indians. Entire Inuit and Alaskan Native village communities died in Alaska; Canada: 50,000 died; Brazil: 300,000 died,
We in India, like other countries, are going through a tough time, a period of uncertainty, anxiety and weakened economy and the present total lock down, it is likely, may go beyond April 14. We, as responsible citizens, must obey the orders of state and central governments and trust the precautionary measures being taken by them. In the present context, with no proper medication available for corona virus, only precaution is social distancing and self-imposed isolation Try to shun lousy politicians who make capital out of Corona virus pandemic for their publicity. Our administrators have to tackle many problems on many fronts. For them and the medical fraternity it is a horrendous time to be on duty beyond their capacity. Let us all pray and follow the govt. regulations with patience to tackle the present emergency. Positively, we will see a silver line in the cloud in the near future.