Monday, March 20, 2006

The 1918-1919 "Bird Flu" that killed 40 million

Health officials warn that millions could die in a flu pandemic. It would not be the first time. The Spanish flu virus that swept the world in 1918-19 is considered one of the most deadly diseases in history.
In March 1918 an army cook reported to the infirmary at Fort Riley, Kansas, with a temperature of 39.5 C.

Within two days a further 521 men had been taken sick, in what is thought to have been one of the first recorded outbreaks of what came to be known as Spanish flu.

Striking a world already devastated by war, such early warning signs were largely missed and the influenza went on to kill 40 million in a matter of months.

Scientists now believe the virus came from birds and that it bore similarities to the avian flu at the centre of the current scare.
Read full story via bbc news