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Spanish Flu

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NEWS
February 5, 1997 | KATHLEEN DOHENY
"The American Experience," a series on PBS, is putting together a historical documentary film on the influenza epidemic of 1918, also known as the "Spanish Flu," which killed more than 600,000 people in the United States. The producers are interested in talking to people who remember the epidemic or who have stories to tell about it. Call Robert Kenner Films at (800) 990-1918 to share your story. The tentative broadcast date is January 1998.
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SCIENCE
February 23, 2012 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
The World Health Organization says the H5N1 bird flu kills nearly 60% of people who become infected, but a study released Thursday suggests the true fatality rate may actually be much lower. Virologists at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City examined data on blood samples collected from more than 12,000 people in Asia, Europe and Africa and found evidence of H5N1 infection in 1% to 2% of cases. Most of those people did not become ill with the flu, according to a report in the journal Science, and none of them died.
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SCIENCE
September 23, 2011 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
The film "Contagion" may have been fiction, but the 1918-19 influenza epidemic was horrifyingly real. The "Spanish flu" epidemic tore a path of destruction across the globe, killing an estimated 50-100 million people within months before disappearing into history. Now, evidence from U.S. soldiers felled by the virus reveals that it circulated in the country for four months before the pandemic was even identified. The findings, published online Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, offer a picture of a virus as it turned from common pathogen to killer bug, said senior author Jeffery Taubenberger, a pathologist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Md. "This was one of the worst infectious disease outbreaks that ever occurred," Taubenberger said.
OPINION
January 15, 2012 | By David Finkelstein
In recent weeks I've had occasion to wonder whether Talmudic scholars of yore ever debated the question of what to do when a nice Jewish boy came down with swine flu. Less shameful than a diagnosis of trichinosis, perhaps, in which the subject would surely be harshly judged for his complicity in having partaken of undercooked pork. Yet hasn't a swine flu victim also ingested (or at least inhaled) the virus one way or another? Admittedly, this was not foremost on my mind when, in 2006, my wife and I purchased a drug called Tamiflu.
SCIENCE
January 20, 2007 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Scientists who tested monkeys with the resurrected 1918 killer flu virus have a better idea of how the deadliest epidemic in history attacked and killed so many people -- by over-amping the victims' immune systems. The findings help explain why so many of the roughly 50 million who died in the Spanish flu pandemic were young and healthy, Wisconsin researchers reported Friday in the journal Science.
HEALTH
June 4, 2007 | Marc Siegel, Special to The Times
"Pandemic," the Hallmark Channel, May 26. The premise: On an island off the north coast of Australia, as surfer Charley Williams begins to cough, he is unaware that several dead seagulls and a dead dog lie near him. They are infected with a new form of flu virus, later determined to be an H3N7 mutated variant named "Riptide." Fellow surfer Ames Smith leaves the island and boards a plane to Los Angeles. While on board, he develops a high fever, coughs up blood and dies.
SCIENCE
December 23, 2006 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
A flu virus as deadly as the one that caused the 1918 Spanish flu could kill as many as 81 million people worldwide if it struck today, a new study estimated. By applying historical death rates to modern population data, the researchers calculated a death toll of 51 million to 81 million, with a median estimate of 62 million. The study, published in the journal Lancet, estimates that 96% of the deaths would occur in the developing world.
NEWS
January 22, 1992 | KATHLEEN DOHENY
According to a survey compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics: * Americans sniffled through nearly 61.5 million colds in 1990. * The average annual odds of catching a cold are about 1 in 4. * When it comes to colds, preschoolers are the biggest germ-mongers. For every 100 children under 5 surveyed, 65 had contracted a cold. Middle-agers (defined as ages 45-64) are the least likely, with only 14 of every 100.
NEWS
March 22, 1997 | From Associated Press
By analyzing viral genes from lung tissue preserved for 79 years, researchers have determined that the 1918 flu epidemic that killed 20 million people worldwide was caused by a virus from American pigs. In a study published Friday in the journal Science, researchers at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology said they found the virus traces in tissue taken from the autopsy of an Army private who died of the flu in 1918.
OPINION
January 15, 2012 | By David Finkelstein
In recent weeks I've had occasion to wonder whether Talmudic scholars of yore ever debated the question of what to do when a nice Jewish boy came down with swine flu. Less shameful than a diagnosis of trichinosis, perhaps, in which the subject would surely be harshly judged for his complicity in having partaken of undercooked pork. Yet hasn't a swine flu victim also ingested (or at least inhaled) the virus one way or another? Admittedly, this was not foremost on my mind when, in 2006, my wife and I purchased a drug called Tamiflu.
SCIENCE
September 23, 2011 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
The film "Contagion" may have been fiction, but the 1918-19 influenza epidemic was horrifyingly real. The "Spanish flu" epidemic tore a path of destruction across the globe, killing an estimated 50-100 million people within months before disappearing into history. Now, evidence from U.S. soldiers felled by the virus reveals that it circulated in the country for four months before the pandemic was even identified. The findings, published online Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, offer a picture of a virus as it turned from common pathogen to killer bug, said senior author Jeffery Taubenberger, a pathologist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Md. "This was one of the worst infectious disease outbreaks that ever occurred," Taubenberger said.
SCIENCE
September 18, 2009 | Karen Kaplan
As health officials brace for a new onslaught of illness from the novel H1N1 virus, they remain perplexed by one of the most unusual and unsettling patterns to emerge from this pandemic -- the tendency of the so-called swine flu to strike younger, healthier people. The initial explanation was that the elderly, who are usually most vulnerable to the flu, have built-in immunity as a result of their exposure more than 50 years ago to ancestors of today's pandemic strain. But the limits of the theory are becoming more clear.
HEALTH
June 4, 2007 | Marc Siegel, Special to The Times
"Pandemic," the Hallmark Channel, May 26. The premise: On an island off the north coast of Australia, as surfer Charley Williams begins to cough, he is unaware that several dead seagulls and a dead dog lie near him. They are infected with a new form of flu virus, later determined to be an H3N7 mutated variant named "Riptide." Fellow surfer Ames Smith leaves the island and boards a plane to Los Angeles. While on board, he develops a high fever, coughs up blood and dies.
SCIENCE
January 20, 2007 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Scientists who tested monkeys with the resurrected 1918 killer flu virus have a better idea of how the deadliest epidemic in history attacked and killed so many people -- by over-amping the victims' immune systems. The findings help explain why so many of the roughly 50 million who died in the Spanish flu pandemic were young and healthy, Wisconsin researchers reported Friday in the journal Science.
SCIENCE
December 23, 2006 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
A flu virus as deadly as the one that caused the 1918 Spanish flu could kill as many as 81 million people worldwide if it struck today, a new study estimated. By applying historical death rates to modern population data, the researchers calculated a death toll of 51 million to 81 million, with a median estimate of 62 million. The study, published in the journal Lancet, estimates that 96% of the deaths would occur in the developing world.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 2, 2006 | Michael Standaert, Special to The Times
THE year is 1918. The boys are off to the trenches of Belgium and France and super-patriots are barking at home. Get your war bonds! Stop the march of the baby-killing Huns! There's fear and paranoia in the air, not just of foreign spies and saboteurs, but of a killer no one can see. Spanish influenza lands in Boston and spreads along the East Coast, then races westward across the country, leaving five times as many people dead in its wake as Americans fallen on the battlefields of Europe.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 2, 2006 | Michael Standaert, Special to The Times
THE year is 1918. The boys are off to the trenches of Belgium and France and super-patriots are barking at home. Get your war bonds! Stop the march of the baby-killing Huns! There's fear and paranoia in the air, not just of foreign spies and saboteurs, but of a killer no one can see. Spanish influenza lands in Boston and spreads along the East Coast, then races westward across the country, leaving five times as many people dead in its wake as Americans fallen on the battlefields of Europe.
SCIENCE
September 18, 2009 | Karen Kaplan
As health officials brace for a new onslaught of illness from the novel H1N1 virus, they remain perplexed by one of the most unusual and unsettling patterns to emerge from this pandemic -- the tendency of the so-called swine flu to strike younger, healthier people. The initial explanation was that the elderly, who are usually most vulnerable to the flu, have built-in immunity as a result of their exposure more than 50 years ago to ancestors of today's pandemic strain. But the limits of the theory are becoming more clear.
MAGAZINE
August 27, 2006 | Susan Straight, Susan Straight is a novelist and contributing writer for West.
I let the chickens out to play. We'd been at work and school for most of the day, they'd been cooped up (that's where the word comes from--chicken coop) and the sun was shining here in Riverside. The hens are teenagers, but they are still cute, unlike many teenagers. They are 6 months old, one golden and friendly, one black, speckled and wary. They are sisters, named Butter and Smoke.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 26, 2000 | AL MARTINEZ
When the director of disease control programs for the L.A. County Department of Health Services said she was crossing her fingers and toes to avoid the flu, I knew there wasn't a lot that could be done for me. I called Dr. Shirley Fannin in the midst of an illness that kept me homebound for a week because she probably knows more about the devil influenza than anyone. She said I might not even have the flu. Perhaps I was only suffering flu-like symptoms related to some other opportunistic virus.
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