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Scientists explore 1510 influenza pandemic and lessons learned

Date:
November 12, 2010
Source:
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Summary:
History's first recognized influenza pandemic originated in Asia and rapidly spread to other continents 500 years ago, in the summer of 1510. Researcher now explore the 1510 pandemic and what we have learned since then about preventing, controlling and treating influenza.

History's first recognized influenza pandemic originated in Asia and rapidly spread to other continents 500 years ago, in the summer of 1510. A new commentary by researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, explores the 1510 pandemic and what we have learned since then about preventing, controlling and treating influenza.

Prior to that time, regional and local epidemics of respiratory infectious diseases and pneumonia had occurred, but no outbreaks had yet been recorded on a worldwide scale. The 1510 pandemic first arose in Asia, but it spread quickly to Africa and Europe via trade routes. Although the disease -- which was then referred to by various descriptive terms such as "gasping oppression" -- was highly infectious, the death rate was low, and the pandemic ended quickly.

The authors concede that the emergence of new pandemic influenza viruses remains as unpredictable as it was 500 years ago. But they outline a host of scientific and public health advances that have taken place since then -- from the study of microbiology to the development of vaccines and treatment -- that now allow us to better plan and prepare for both seasonal and pandemic influenza. For example, scientists at NIAID and elsewhere are currently researching the possibility of a universal influenza vaccine, which would aim to protect individuals from all strains of flu.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. DavidM. Morens, JefferyK. Taubenberger, GregoryK. Folkers, AnthonyS. Fauci. Pandemic Influenza’s 500th Anniversary. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 2010; 000 DOI: 10.1086/657429

Cite This Page:

NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "Scientists explore 1510 influenza pandemic and lessons learned." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101112141130.htm>.
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (2010, November 12). Scientists explore 1510 influenza pandemic and lessons learned. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101112141130.htm
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "Scientists explore 1510 influenza pandemic and lessons learned." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101112141130.htm (accessed April 21, 2014).

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