On the Centenary of the Spanish Flu: Being Prepared for the Next Pandemic
Influenza is one of the oldest infectious diseases affecting humans. Every influenza pandemic in history has ended with disastrous outcomes regarding public health and the social economy. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Spanish flu (H1N1) outbreak of 1918, which is recognized as the most lethal natural event in recent history. In spite of limited travel and transportation at that time, the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 reached peak activity on multiple continents simultaneously within several months after its emergence in late 1917 from different hypothesized origins, such as US military camps, the state of Kansas, or the troop staging and hospital camp in Étaples, France (Patterson and Pyle 1991; Oxford et al. 2005; Shanks 2016). However, in some islands of the Pacific region, such as in New Caledonia, the pandemic’s lethal effects lasted for over 3 years, until July 1921 (Shanks et al. 2018). The pandemic flu is estimated to have infected more than 500 million people,...
We are grateful to Drs. Zijian Feng, Zijun Wang, Zhongjie Li, Luzhao Feng, and Tao Chen for their excellent suggestions on the preparation of the figure in this manuscript. This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (grant 2017YFC1200202), the Major Special Projects for Infectious Disease Research of China (grant 2016ZX10004222-003), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grants 81401312 and 81373141). William J. Liu is supported by the Excellent Young Scientist Program of the NSFC (81822040). George F. Gao is a leading principal investigator of the National Natural Science Foundation of China Innovative Research Group (grant 81621091).
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Animal and Human Rights Statement
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
- Bi Y, Shi W, Chen J, Chen Q, Ma Z, Wong G, Tian W, Yin R, Fu G, Yang Y, Liu WJ, Quan C, Wang Q, He S, Li X, Xia Q, Wang L, Pan Z, Li L, Li H, Xu W, Luo Y, Zeng H, Dai L, Xiao H, Sharshov K, Shestopalov A, Shi Y, Yan J, Li X, Liu Y, Lei F, Liu W, Gao GF (2017) CASCIRE surveillance network and work on avian influenza viruses. Sci China Life Sci 60:1386–1391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Iuliano AD, Roguski KM, Chang HH, Muscatello DJ, Palekar R, Tempia S, Cohen C, Gran JM, Schanzer D, Cowling BJ, Wu P, Kyncl J, Ang LW, Park M, Redlberger-Fritz M, Yu H, Espenhain L, Krishnan A, Emukule G, van Asten L, Pereira da Silva S, Aungkulanon S, Buchholz U, Widdowson MA, Bresee JS, Global Seasonal Influenza-associated Mortality Collaborator N (2018) Estimates of global seasonal influenza-associated respiratory mortality: a modelling study. Lancet 391:1285–1300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Oxford JS, Lambkin R, Sefton A, Daniels R, Elliot A, Brown R, Gill D (2005) A hypothesis: the conjunction of soldiers, gas, pigs, ducks, geese and horses in northern France during the Great War provided the conditions for the emergence of the “Spanish” influenza pandemic of 1918–1919. Vaccine 23:940–945CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Patterson KD, Pyle GF (1991) The geography and mortality of the 1918 influenza pandemic. Bull Hist Med 65:4–21Google Scholar
- Plotkin SL, Plotkin SA (2018) A short history of vaccination. In: Plotkin SA, Orenstein WA, Offit PA, Edwards KM (eds) Plotkin’s vaccines, 7th edn. Elsevier, Philadelphia, pp 1–15Google Scholar
- The Lancet (2018) World Flu day: momentum from China for influenza control. Lancet 392:1600Google Scholar
- Zhao M, Liu K, Luo J, Tan S, Quan C, Zhang S, Chai Y, Qi J, Li Y, Bi Y, Xiao H, Wong G, Zhou J, Jiang T, Liu W, Yu H, Yan J, Liu Y, Shu Y, Wu G, Wu A, Gao GF, Liu WJ (2018) Heterosubtypic protections against human-infecting avian influenza viruses correlate to biased cross-T-cell responses. MBio. https://doi.org/10.1128/mbio.01408-18 Google Scholar