Timeline of influenza

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This is a timeline of influenza, briefly describing major events such as outbreaks, epidemics, pandemics, discoveries and developments of vaccines. In addition to specific year/period-related events, there's the seasonal flu that kills between 250,000 and 500,000 people every year, and has claimed between 340 million and 1 billion human lives throughout history.[1][2]

Overview[edit]

Year/period Key developments
Before the 16th Century The outbreak of influenza reported in 1173 is not considered to be a pandemic, and other reports to 1500 generally lack reliability.
16th Century The 1510 influenza pandemic spread from Asia to Africa, then engulfing Europe. It is the first documented case of intercontinental spread of an influenza virus, with less lethality than future pandemics.

The 1557 influenza pandemic spread from Asia to the Ottoman Empire, then Europe, the Americas, and Africa. This flu pandemic is the first to be reliably recorded as spreading worldwide,[3][4][5][6] is when flu received its first English names.[7][8] It is also the first pandemic in which flu is linked to miscarriages.[9] The pandemic lasted for at least two years.[10][11]

The 1580 pandemic is well-documented, with high mortality recorded as influenza spreads across Europe.[12]

18th century Data from this century is more informative of pandemics than those of previous years. The first agreed influenza pandemic of the 18th century begins in 1729.[12]
19th century Two influenza pandemics are recorded in the century.[12] Avian influenza is recorded for the first time.[13]
20th century Influenza pandemics are recorded four times, starting with the deadly Spanish flu. This is also the period of virus isolation and development of vaccines.[14] Prior to 20th century, much information about influenza is generally not considered certain. Although the virus seems to have caused epidemics throughout human history, historical data on influenza are difficult to interpret, because the symptoms can be similar to those of other respiratory diseases.[15][16]
1945 – 21st century International health organizations merge, and large scale vaccination campaigns begin.[17]
21st century Worldwide accessible databases multiply in order to control outbreaks and prevent pandemics. New influenza strain outbreaks still occur. Efficacy of currently available vaccines is still insufficient to diminish the current annual health burden induced by the virus.[17]

Full timeline: Hippocrates - 2017[edit]

Reported cases of influenza in American countries for the period 1949–1958, illustrating the severity of influenza A virus subtype H2N2 pandemic in 1957. Chile (not shown in the graph) was severely hit and reported 1,408,430 cases in 1957.[18]
Specific strains of influenza infection throughout the 20th century.[19]

Influenza has been studied by countless physicians, epidemiologists, and medical historians. Chroniclers distinguished its outbreaks from other diseases by the rapid, indiscriminate way it struck down entire populations. Flu has been called various names including tac,[20] coqueluche,[21][22][23] the new disease,[24]gruppie,[25] grippe, castrone,[26][27] influenza,[28] and commonly just catarrh[29][30][31] by many chroniclers and physicians throughout the ages.

Year/period Type of event Event Geographical location
400 BCE Medical development The symptoms of human influenza are described by Hippocrates.[32][14]
1173 Epidemic First epidemic, where symptoms are probably influenza, is reported.[12] Europe
1357 The term influenza is first used to describe a disease prevailing in 1357.[28][33] It would be applied again to the epidemic in 1386−1387.[34] Italy
1386–1387 Epidemic Influenza-like illness epidemic develops in Europe, preferentially killing elderly and debilitating persons. This is probably the first documentation of a key epidemiological feature of both pandemic and seasonal influenza.[34] Europe
1411 Epidemic Epidemic of coughing disease associated with spontaneous abortions is noted in Paris.[34] The illness is referred to as le tac by some contemporaries.[20] France
1414 Epidemic Another outbreak of flu is recorded in Paris, possibly the first time the disease is referred to as coqueluche.
1510 Pandemic Influenza pandemic develops in Asia and proceedes northward to involve North Africa, then all of Europe. Attack rates are extremely high, but fatality is low and said to be restricted to weaker individuals like children and those who were bled.[34] Africa, Europe
1557–1558 Pandemic Influenza pandemic spreads westward from Asia to Africa and Europe, then travels aboard European ships across the Atlantic Ocean. Another wave in 1558-59 spreads worldwide with devastating effects.[35][3][4][5][6][34] Eurasia
1580 Pandemic [12][34] Eurasia, Africa
1729 Pandemic [16][12][34] Eurasia
1761–1762 Pandemic [34] Americas, Europe
1780–1782 Pandemic [34] Eurasia
1830–1833 Pandemic [12] Eurasia, Americas
1878 Scientific development First descriptions of avian influenza, termed "fowl plague," is recorded by Perroncito in Italy.[36][37][13] Italy
1889–1892 Pandemic [38][34] Eurasia, Americas
1901 Scientific development [37]
1918-1920 Pandemic In March of 1918, 48 soldiers die of "pneumonia" during a, outbreak at Fort Riley, Kansas. Flu travels unchecked eastward[39] to New England military bases before traveling across the Atlantic Ocean on crowded military ships to Europe amid World War I. It spread rapidly through European cities, and was nicknamed Spanish flu for the uncensored reporting in Spain, as moving armies spread flu around the world. Spanish flu returns in waves for the next 2 years.[40][41] Worldwide; originated in France (disputed)
1931 Scientific development Richard Shope isolates the Influenza A virus from pigs.[42]
1933 Scientific development [43][44][45] United Kingdom
1936 Medical development [46] Russia
1942 Medical development [45]
1945 Medical development [47] United States
1946 Organization [48][49] United States (Atlanta)
1947 Organization [50] France (serves worldwide)
1948 Organization [51]
1952 Organization (Research institute) [52]
1957 Pandemic [53][54][55][56][34] China
1959 Non–human infection [57] United Kingdom
1961 Non–human infection [58][59] South Africa
1963 Non–human infection [57] United Kingdom
1966 Non–human infection [57] Canada
1968-1969 Pandemic [34][60] Eurasia, North America
1973 Program launch [45]
1976 Epidemic [61][62] United States (New Jersey)
1976 Non–human infection [57] Australia
1977 Epidemic [62] Russia, China, worldwide
1978 Medical development [45]
1980 Medical development [63] United States
1983 Non–human infection [64][59] Ireland
1988 Infection [65] China
1990-1996 Medical development [66] United States
1997 Infection [67] China (Hong Kong)
1997 Infection Australia
1999 Infection [62][59] China (Hong Kong)
2002 Infection [68][59] United States
2003–2007 Infection [59][69] East Asia, Southeast Asia
2003 Infection [70][59] Netherlands
2004 Organization [71]
2004 Infection [72][59] Canada
2004 Infection [73][59] Egypt
2004 Non–human infection [74][59] United States
2005 Organization [75][76] United States
2005 Organization [77][78] United States (New York City)
2005 Infection [79][59] Cambodia, Romania
2006 Organization [80] China (Beijing)
2007 Non-human infection [81] Australia
2008 Scientific development [82] Worldwide
2008 Service launch [83] United States
2009 Pandemic [84] [85][62] Worldwide
2011 Non–human infection [86] United States
2012 Scientific development [87]
2012 Scientific project/controversy [88][89] Netherlands (Erasmus Medical Center), United States (University of Wisconsin–Madison)
2012 Medical development [90] United States
2013 Epidemic [91][92] China, Vietnam
2013 Medical development [93] United States
2013 Infection [94][59] China
2015 Program [95] [96][97] United States
2017 Medical development [98] United States
2017 Scientific development [99] Finland

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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