1918 Flu was Avian Flu

Interesting article stating scientists grew the 1918 virus in a lab and have determined it was an avian flu.

Even though this was suppposedly done in a hi-security lab, I’m still kinda nervous about it.

The Flu Lives Again!

Ever read The Stand?

We. Are. All. Going. To. Die.

That article is scarier than Halloween.

Halloween hell. It’s scarier than suicide bombers at the OU game.

CNN said the '18 flu was only fatal in about 5% of cases. And from all accounts, people were still dropping like flies. The Bird Flu, at least at full strength, is supposed to be 50% fatal. Even if it weakens (as it’s supposed to) with each new generation, the bodies could pile up at an unbelievable rate.

Query: My maternal grandmother and my paternal grandfather both had and recovered from the 1918 flu. Both of my parents were conceived afterwards. If there were an outbreak, I wonder if I would have any immunity to it through their genes (and if so, which line would offer the most protection).

Remember, however, that the 1918 flu was worse on us for a number of reasons:

First, it was not initially taken seriously. “Only the flu,” thus not important. One of its first breakout points was when it got into military posts in the U.S. where young men were preparing to be shipped to Europe. They were shipped anyway, after traveling to various other parts of the U.S.; had they been quarantined, the spread might well have been prevented.

Second, there was no such thing as a flu vaccine then, so everyone was vulnerable.

Third, there was far less cooperation among what public health entities existed at the time, and far less understanding of the disease.

Not saying that an oubreak now would be no big deal, but IMHO would be much less likely to have as devastating an effect as in 1918.

I found the book The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague In History by John M. Barry to be a fascinating chronicle of the epidemic.

‘I opened the window, and in flew Enza.’

I think it’s important to remember that the “Spanish flu” was an avian-originated flu, and not The Bird Flu that the news media has been panicking over lately. This sort of comparison can lead to misunderstandings.

Unlikely, since one of the most dangerous things about flu viruses is their constant mutation into slightly different forms.

Since I had an uncle who died from the 1918 flu, and the Asian flu outbreak in the 1950’s damn near killed my father, I’m hoping that genetics doesn’t have anything to do with it.

One of the things I liked about Captain Tripps was the speed at which everything went down. Awful virus, but very fast.

The article I read this morning stated that the 1918 flu isn’t nearly as much of a threat now as it was then, since we all have some immunity to it. The viruses floating around now are related to it, or something, which was not so much the case back then.

Just you.

Yeah, this one could well be worse. We have denser population centers and much beter transportation. Combined with a lack of immunity.

Sorry, but immunity isn’t passed along genetically. The only way that any form of immunity gets passed along from parent to child is through maternal antibodies in breast milk, which help protect infants before their immune systems develop.

Would this method pass the immunity through successive generations?

My understanding was that the 1918 flu was mitigated by a previous, less lethal epidemic of flu that was spread sometime before it hit. The result was that older people were less vulnerable to the 1918 outbreak as they were more likely to have lived through the earlier epidemic, which led to younger folks being the main victims of the outbreak (in a reversal of how things usually work, where the flu usually kills older folks).

All this is from memory though, so maybe I’m confusing it with something else.

Actually in a way you might. The fact that both survived means that they may have had some genetic resistance to the disease to begin with - or at least may mean that they weren’t unusually susceptible to it (the disease killed 5% of those who contracted it, so for whatever reason they did better than that 5%).

Of course you could turn that around and say that if they were really resistant to the disease they wouldn’t both have gotten it to begin with - in which case I’d say you’re doomed.

Doesn’t have to be worse. The “swine flu” scare in the 1970s didn’t cause a worldwide (or even nationwide) pandemic, neither did the Russian flu that decade, and both of those jumped species to get to humans.

Factors going the other way are much, much faster modes of transport which may allow people to vector an illness before quarantine measures can be effective. Also population density has become much more severe. How much vaccine there will be if/when this thing comes and whether it will be effective is also a big question. Still, good points raised. This probably won’t be the Apocalypse.