Swine Flu Historical Timeline
Historical events and early events that can help explain reactions to the current swine flu A (H1N1) outbreaks:
- 1918 Influenza Pandemic - the Spanish flu pandemic that is thought to have infected one-third of the world's population and caused 20 to 50,000 million deaths from 1918 to 1919. It occurred in three waves, beginning with a first Spring wave in 1918 that was mild, and ending with a more severe third wave in early 1919. Other flu pandemics include the 1957 Asian Flu and 1968 Hong Kong Flu.
- Bird flu (Avian Influenza) influenza A (H5N1) virus begins to cause limited outbreaks in February 2003 in Asia, Africa, the Pacific, Europe and the Near East. The World Health Organization reported a total of 421 human H5N1 cases in April, 2009, with 257 deaths. Poor person-to-person transmission keeps this bird flu strain from causing a pandemic, although experts continue to monitor bird flu cases closely.
- SARS or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome is first reported in Asia in February 2003, causing severe respiratory illnesses in 8,098 people worldwide. Before the SARS outbreak was contained in July 2003, 774 died.
What's Next for Swine Flu
Although the current swine flu outbreak is hardly over, as we all continue to work to decrease the spread of these infections, it can also help to look to what might happen in the months to come:
- swine flu infections could begin to spread in countries in the Southern Hemisphere, where winter is just about to begin, especially since flu viruses typically spread better in cool, dry winter air, instead of the hot summer that we are about to see in the Northern Hemisphere.
- a swine flu vaccine will hopefully be ready sometime in September to November 2009, just in time if a second wave of swine flu (H1N1) infections begins to spread in the fall or winter.
Of course, after peaking, swine flu (H1N1) infections could also just stop and not return.
CDC. H1N1 Past Updates on the Situation. Accessed May 2009. WHO. Situation Updates - Influenza A(H1N1). Accessed May 2009.
CDC. H1N1 Past Updates on the Situation. Accessed May 2009.
WHO. Situation Updates - Influenza A(H1N1). Accessed May 2009.