Pandemic influenza week. Day 1: history of pandemic influenza

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It’s hard to avoid hearing about influenza virus these days. In all the noise, it’s tough to sort out the facts from the rumors and conspiracy theories. I’ve already discussed a bit about the basic biology in this post, so I’m not going to review that here (though a good overview can be found here for those of you who need to bone up on your influenza virus virology). So, this week, as a part of Pandemic influenza awareness week, I’ll be writing a 5-part series about various issues regarding influenza. Today, I’ll discuss the history of influenza, focusing on past pandemics. The rest of the week will address the following topics, with the goal of presenting a review of the facts without the scare-mongering:

  • “Avian flu” and H5N1, 1997-present
  • Where we are now—are we ready for a pandemic?
  • How do we prevent/control a pandemic? What models and surveillance can tell us
  • Other issues in influenza

So, without further ado, let’s dive into today’s topic:

A quick trip through the history of pandemic influenza (on Aetiology)

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Today's links from The Scientific Indian on October 4, 2005 3:59 PM

2005 Nobel Prize:2005 Nobel Prize for Physics for Roy Glauber John Hall and Theodor Hänsch for their work in the field of optics. "What is light and how do various kinds of light differ from each other? How does light emitted by a candle differ from the Read More


Thank you Tara. I am looking forward to the other parts.


PT has managed to do what my teachers could never do 20 years ago, getting me interested in biology on many levels, and this post is a perfect example of how PT does it… Thanks Tara (and all other contributors)!

“Though these questions are still being investigated, the preliminary data suggests that the virus was a human-avian reassortant which had entered the human population a short time before the pandemic (likely 6-12 months).”


I’m still not sure why an intelligent designer, if benign, would want to do things this way. I guess all those who died, and will die, were bad.

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This page contains a single entry by Tara Smith published on October 3, 2005 11:30 AM.

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