Reducing the Impact of a Flu Pandemic

Posted on June 5, 2007  Comments (2)

Model for tracking flu progression could reduce flu pandemic’s peril – Engineer who survived pandemic of 1968 focuses on reducing influenza’s death toll:

Nearly 40 years ago, MIT Professor Richard Larson spent a week sick in bed with the worst illness he’d ever had–the particularly virulent strain of flu that swept the globe in 1968. “That was the sickest I’d ever been,” Larson recalled. “I really thought that was the end.” It took him two or three months to recover fully from the illness.

Known as the Hong Kong flu, the virus killed 750,000 people worldwide, the second worst influenza pandemic the world has seen since the infamous 1918-1919 epidemic of so-called Spanish flu.

The findings strongly suggest that influenza emergency plans should include measures to reduce social contact, such as encouraging people to work from home and avoid large gatherings, Larson said. This is especially important because it generally takes at least six months from the time of an outbreak to develop an effective vaccine.

Related: What Are Viruses?Avian FluLethal Secrets of 1918 Flu Virus

2 Responses to “Reducing the Impact of a Flu Pandemic”

  1. Lisa
    June 7th, 2007 @ 2:21 am

    It’s amazing to me that people just don’t talk about these pandemics after they occur. I had no idea 750,000 people died in the Hong Kong flu pandemic of ’68. I was six at that time. I don’t remember anything about it – not sure my parents were even aware how widespread it was.

  2. Curious Cat Science Blog » Swine Flu: a Quick Overview
    April 26th, 2009 @ 10:22 am

    This is very early in the scientific inquiry process looking into what exactly is going on. It is too early to tell how serious a threat this is. The reaction of WHO, CDC though shows they are taking the threat seriously…

Leave a Reply