Infection Control

Looking at the influenza flu family tree

Infection Control Weekly Monitor, July 1, 2009

An article published online in the New England Journal of Medicine by scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), argues that we have lived in an influenza pandemic era since the 1918.

The authors of the article argue that the 1918 H1N1 virus not only initiated a virulent pandemic that killed tens of millions of people, it also began transmitting the virus from humans to pigs, and continued to evolve to this day.

“All human-adapted influenza A viruses of today — both seasonal variations and those that caused more dramatic pandemics — are descendents, direct or indirect, of that founding virus,” notes Jeffery K. Taubenberger, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Investigator in NIAID’s Laboratory of Infectious Diseases. “Thus we can be said to be living in a pandemic era that began in 1918.”

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