Types of Flu
Types list: The list of types of Flu mentioned in various sources includes:
- Influenza A - most common strain of virus.
- Influenza B
- Influenza C
- Hong Kong influenza - strain of Influenza A
- Russian influenza - a 1978 epidemic.
- Spanish influenza - an epidemic in 1918.
- Asian influenza - a strain of Influenza A in 1957.
- Swine flu - an epidemic in 1976, in the United States
- Avian flu - a chicken flu in Hong Kong in 1997.
Types discussion: Type A is the most common and usually causes the most serious epidemics. Type B outbreaks also can cause epidemics, but the disease it produces generally is milder than that caused by type A. Type C viruses, on the other hand, never have been connected with a large epidemic. 1
If a flu virus emerges
that is either new or that has not circulated in many years, and if
it is able to spread easily from person to person, it could quickly
travel around the world and cause serious illness and death for
millions of people. This is called a flu pandemic.
The 1918 Spanish flu pandemic is the catastrophe against which all modern pandemics are measured. More than 20 million people were killed worldwide; 500,000 died in the United States alone. This virus was especially quick to kill. So far, the world has not seen a virus that severe again.
In 1957 and 1968, the Asian flu and Hong Kong flu, respectively, invaded the United States. Although hundreds of thousands of people in the United States died, the death toll for each pandemic was not as high as that for the Spanish flu .
In 1976, the United States experienced a swine flu scare. When a new flu virus was first identified at Fort Dix, New Jersey, it was labeled the "killer flu," and health experts were afraid that it would infect people around the world. In fact, swine flu never left the Fort Dix area. Research on the virus later showed that if it had spread, it would probably have been much less deadly than the Spanish flu.
In 1997, another "near miss" pandemic occurred when 18 people in Hong Kong became ill from a new flu virus. Six of the infected people subsequently died. Usually, flu viruses move first from chickens to pigs, and then from pigs to humans. This virus was different because it moved directly from chickens to people. The avian flu never became a pandemic, however, because it didn't easily spread from person to person. In addition, public health authorities ordered the slaughter of all live chickens in Hong Kong.1
1. excerpt from The Flu, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID
Last revision: May 30, 2003
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