Ыcientists explore 1510 influenza pandemic and lessons learned

Nov 12, 2010

History's first recognized influenza pandemic originated in Asia and rapidly spread to other continents 500 years ago, in the summer of 1510. A new commentary by researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, explores the 1510 pandemic and what we have learned since then about preventing, controlling and treating influenza.

Prior to that time, regional and local epidemics of respiratory and pneumonia had occurred, but no outbreaks had yet been recorded on a worldwide scale. The 1510 pandemic first arose in Asia, but it spread quickly to and Europe via trade routes. Although the disease—which was then referred to by various descriptive terms such as "gasping oppression"—was highly infectious, the death rate was low, and the pandemic ended quickly.

The authors concede that the emergence of new pandemic influenza viruses remains as unpredictable as it was 500 years ago. But they outline a host of scientific and public health advances that have taken place since then—from the study of microbiology to the development of vaccines and treatment—that now allow us to better plan and prepare for both seasonal and influenza. For example, scientists at NIAID and elsewhere are currently researching the possibility of a universal vaccine, which would aim to protect individuals from all strains of flu.

Explore further: Studies of nonoperative tx for discogenic back pain lacking

More information: DM Morens et al. Pandemic influenza's 500th anniversary (http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/657429). Clinical Infectious Diseases. DOI:10.1086/657429 (2010).

Provided by National Institutes of Health

4.5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Universal flu vaccine holds promise

Apr 27, 2009

An influenza vaccine that protects against death and serious complications from different strains of flu is a little closer to reality, Saint Louis University vaccine researchers have found.

Bird flu vaccine protects people and pets

Oct 20, 2008

A single vaccine could be used to protect chickens, cats and humans against deadly flu pandemics, according to an article published in the November issue of the Journal of General Virology. The vaccine protects birds and ma ...

Recommended for you

New treatment fights common infant virus

3 hours ago

Researchers at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center announced results of a clinical trial of a new drug shown to safely reduce the viral load and clinical illness of healthy ...

User comments : 0