10 misconceptions about the worst epidemic in human history, the 1918 flu


10 misconceptions about the worst epidemic in human history, the 1918 flu

The epidemic was said to have spread in 1918, infecting a quarter of the world's population at the time.1918 influenza"Also known as the Spanish Cold, killed 20 to 40 million peopleIt is said. However, there are many misunderstandings about this infectious disease, and "10 Misunderstandings" to learn from the 1918 influenza, which is said to be one of the worst infectious diseases in human history,The ConversationPublished in.

10 misconceptions about the 1918 flu, the 'greatest pandemic in history'

Misconception 1: Spanish cold occurred in Spain

In 1918, influenza was first reported by European soldiers during the First World War, but the warring nations hid information because their enemies were not aware of their weaknesses. The disease spread across the continent and was first reported and named after landing in the neutral nation of Spain. In fact, the origins of the 1918 influenza are controversial even in modern times, and it is thought that Kansas in East Asia and the United States as well as Europe is possible.

Against this background, many experts do not call pathogens to link place names to viruses.

Misunderstanding 2: "Super virus" caused pandemic

In 1918, the flu spread rapidly, killing 25 million people in the first six months.

On the other hand, recent studies have shown that the 1918 influenza virus was more lethal than the influenza virus that spread in other years, but was not fundamentally different. Increased mortality was attributed to poor environmental conditions in the battlefield, congestion in cities, malnutrition and poor hygiene associated with the war, and bacterial lung pneumonia weakened by influenza was a common cause of death. Is considered to occupy.

Misconception 3: The first epidemic was the most deadly

The 1918 influenza caused the first wave around 1918, the second wave around autumn 1918, and the third wave from spring to autumn 1919, but the fatality rate of the first wave was relatively low. The second wave, which was slowed from October to December 1918, had the highest mortality rate, and the third wave had a higher mortality rate than the first wave but lower than the second wave.

At the time of the second wave, mildly ill patients stayed at home, but severely ill patients were often collected in crowded hospital and military locations. Researchers believe this has spread the virus in a lethal fashion.

Misconception 4: The virus killed most of the infected

The flu in 1918 affected many people, but it wasn't such a disease that almost all people who died were killed. On the other hand, the mortality rate varies depending on the group to which the infected person belongs, and Native AmericansTens of millions dieWas affected. This is thought to be due to having never been exposed to influenza strains in the past. Some say that the Native American community itself that had existed before has disappeared.

Misconception 5: Treatment at the time had little effect on the disease

In 1918, there was no specific antiviral therapy, and, as in modern times, medicine was aimed at "supporting" the patient, not "treating" the disease.

Some researchers found that some of the 1918 flu diedAspirin addictionSome have hypothesized that has affected mortality and severity. Medical authorities at the time recommended 30 g of aspirin daily for influenza. In modern times, a safe dosage is set at "up to 4 g per day", and it seems that a large amount of aspirin administration may have caused death.

However, even in areas where aspirin was not administered, mortality rates may be high, and the debate remains conclusive.

Misunderstanding # 6: The news was immediately reported in a big way

At the time of the flu outbreak in 1918, authorities in various countries tended to downplay the pandemic to prevent soldiers from losing morale and panic across the country. For this reason, at first, there was not much coverage due to the neglect of the authorities.

However, at the height of the pandemic, authorities also took action, quarantine was carried out in many cities, and sometimes police and firefighters were restricted in their actions.

Misconception 7: Pandemic has changed the outcome of World War I

It is not believed that the pandemic epidemic had influenced the outcome of the war, as the pandemic affected both the Allies and the Central Allies equally. However, the battlefield environment has certainly created an ideal place to make the virus more virulent.

Misconception 8: Pandemic has converged due to widespread vaccination

The 1918 influenza vaccination was not performed in 1918, so the convergence of the pandemic was not due to vaccination.

Soldiers who have been in the army for years are better than recruitsLow mortalityIt is possible that past exposure to influenza strains may have protected the body.

In addition, the rapidly evolving virus may have turned into a less lethal strain. High mortality kills the host rapidly and makes it less easily transmitted. According to the natural selection model, it is quite possible that the virus reduced lethality.

Misconception 9: Virus genes have never been sequenced

In 2005, researchers found the 1918 fluThe base sequence was decoded. The samples collected in this study were recovered from dead buried in permafrost in Alaska.

After that, the gene of 1918 influenza virus was artificially synthesized by the reverse genetics method.Where we infected monkeys, Indicating symptoms observed during the pandemic. Monkeys overreact with immunityCytokine stormIt is believed that cytokine storms increased mortality in young adults in 1918 as well.

Myth 10: Today's world is as vulnerable as 1918

Severe outbreaks of infectious diseases tend to occur every few decades, but modern scientists understand more about isolating and dealing with dying patients than they did in 1918. You. Also, antibiotics to fight secondary bacterial infections did not exist at the time, but can now be prescribed by a doctor. The importance of social distance and hand washing is widely known and can be expected for the development of vaccines and antiviral drugs. As civilization develops, viruses still threaten human life suddenly, but humanity should be able to learn lessons from the past.

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