The history of flu question from The Stand

  1. dannymcg

    dannymcg Well-Known Member

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    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
     
  2. nixie

    nixie pixie druid Staff Member

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    Influenza is thought to have been round for 6000 years and there was supposed epidemics in the middle ages. Although the first human strain was isolated around 1933.

    Influenza
     
  3. dannymcg

    dannymcg Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  4. hitmouse

    hitmouse Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  5. dannymcg

    dannymcg Well-Known Member

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    Er, anyone wanna enlighten me on that?
    Like, what is an animal reservoir? Is it some kind of zoo?
    Cheers
     
  6. Abernovo

    Abernovo Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
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  7. dannymcg

    dannymcg Well-Known Member

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    That's OK. Thanks, never heard that phrase before.
     
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  8. hitmouse

    hitmouse Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  9. dannymcg

    dannymcg Well-Known Member

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    Pigs! Swine flu!
    Ahah, I get it now. Thankeesai.

    That swine flu; they should try oinkment
     
  10. BAYLOR

    BAYLOR There Are Always new Things to Learn.

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    And its not out the question that something like this could happen again. :unsure:
     
  11. Alex The G and T

    Alex The G and T Thar! That Blows.

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