The history of flu question from The Stand

dannymcg

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#1
In the reissue updated edition of Stephen King's The Stand (1990)
a character is discussing influenza with someone and he says "one hundred years ago the flu didn't exist"

Is that correct? Is it really a modern disease?

Note: it's a conversation from when Stu Redman first meets Glen Bateman and Kojak the dog
 

dannymcg

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#3
Ahh, I wonder if that's what he means by less than a hundred years, a human strain, bearing in mind the story's about killer flu.
 

hitmouse

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#4
The 1918 flu pandemic is thought to have killed 50-100 million people.
This has been known in humans for well over 100 years.
New strains probably arise every few years from an animal reservoir in China and spread from there.
 

Abernovo

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#6
Like, what is an animal reservoir?
A reservoir is a repository. Could be a man-made lake to supply drinking water, or an animal community in which a disease can collect, multiply, grow and mutate. So, an animal reservoir could be chicken farms or markets with poor hygiene, or rat communities on the wharves. Both have possibly produced some lethal breeding grounds for disease. Sorry for the teacher's tone - biologist by training.
 

hitmouse

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#8
A new strain of the influenza virus emerges every year and sweeps the world. Occasionally the strain is particilarly deadly resulting in a global pandemic (rather than the usual annual type which mainly kills the frail elderly and makes others just feel a bit crap for a few days). The interesting epidemiological question is where is the incubator for the new annual variant. These are generally first spotted in China, and the likely explanation is that there is a reservoir in wild and farm animals where the virus is maintained and mutates before spreading globally in its annual cycle.
 

BAYLOR

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#10
The 1918 flu pandemic is thought to have killed 50-100 million people.
This has been known in humans for well over 100 years.
New strains probably arise every few years from an animal reservoir in China and spread from there.
And its not out the question that something like this could happen again. :unsure:
 

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