the Epidemic of Spanish flu that raged in the world in the early twentieth century, is one of the most ambitious in the history of mankind. The Spanish flu infected 30% of the entire population of the Earth at that time. Died — according to various estimates, from 50 to 100 million people. Where did the deadly virus? And whether the origin of such a pandemic today?

Says the expert — presenter of the program “Epidemic” on the TV “Doctor” Eugene Paperny.

the Beginning of 1918. In the midst of the First world war. In military action involved all the major powers. But soldiers are dying not only from bullets. Them killing an unknown infection.

Symptoms of a new disease at an early stage seems to be typical of colds. But this is only the beginning. Later, the face turning blue — cyanosis occurs. Develops pulmonary hemorrhage. Suffer the eyes, kidneys and even the meninges. due burst blood vessels she looks bright red.

Military censorship in Europe, appearing in print nor the lines on the epidemic. With the exception of Spanish Newspapers. Spain maintained neutrality in the First world war, so the press freely discussed the development of a hitherto unknown disease. Spanish newspaper about a new epidemic recognized, and other Europeans, and later the whole world. Therefore, the disease and went down in history under the name “Spanish flu”. By the way, in Spain the disease was called La pesadilla, which means “a nightmare, a bad dream.”

Despite the fact that the epidemic emerged full-blown in Europe, the first cases identified by modern doctors as the symptoms of the Spanish flu, was identified in the United States. There are even the exact date — Monday, March 11, 1918.

Early in the morning in the -martial infirmary base Fort Riley Kansas came soldier of the American army albert Gitchell. Complained — literally — “in the brutal cold”. Within the hour came another soldier with the same symptoms. By the end of the week, patients were already 522. Despite this, the transfer of American troops in Europe continued. By July of 1918, 2 million soldiers had landed in France, and the “Spanish flu” began its March across Europe. Russia resisted the Spanish flu longer than other countries. The spread of the virus prevented the cold climate. But by the end of the winter of 1918 the first cases recorded in the southern provinces, in the spring of the first cases in Saratov and Tambov, but by the summer, the epidemic has reached the capital.

the Highest mortality rate of Spanish flu was recorded among people flourishing age (20 to 40 years) unlike ordinary flu, which is dangerous mainly for children and the elderly. The fact that in the case of “Spanish flu” against the patients worked their��own immune system. The virus was abnormally strong reactions of the immune system in response to invading viral agents. The better working immune system, the harder it was the disease. High mortality was conditioned by the excessive reaction of the body. Some patients died on the next day after infection. In the power of the pandemic turned out to be the globe.

From fear of an invisible enemy methods of struggle and prevention of household bordered on superstition. The black population of the United States tried to stop the disease with the help of shamanic rituals and voodoo dolls. High-society rich people of Europe hang round diamond amulets — somebody started the rumor that the disease does not tolerate the presence of diamonds on the body. But it was absolutely useless… And suddenly at the end of the 1919 “Spanish flu” capitulated. The number of patients has decreased dramatically, the fatal course of influenza has come to naught.

Why the disease has receded? From the point of view of survival of the virus is not profitable to be fatal. On the contrary, it is convenient to live in the host organism as long as possible for as long as possible to transmitted to others. With the “Spanish flu” this rule has been violated. During the half year the virus has taken over the planet. All carriers have either been ill and received immunity or died. However, genetics put forward their own, alternative version: the victims of the Spanish flu become carriers of specific genes that were more vulnerable to infection. Them and decimated the “Spanish flu” during your March around the world. All the others survived.

the Remains of soldiers who died from the Spanish flu, became a source of biological samples for microbiologists nearly a hundred years. Scientists have managed to decipher the RNA of the virus. It turned out that the “Spanish flu” is the result of the mixing of two independent varieties of influenza viruses — avian and human. Later it turned out that the structure of the virus even more difficult.

a few months before the first cases of registration of the Spanish flu in Fort Riley where sick the first American soldiers in the town of cedar rapids, Iowa, held an exhibition of pigs.

the event Ended with a complete failure: almost all the specimens have fallen victim to unprecedented diseases. This case is remarkable for the fact that pigs do not transmit the disease to man. On the contrary, a person infected swine and received in reverse order developed modification of the virus.

That is, in the formation of a pandemic strain has attended three very different species. According to the findings of geneticists, the virus was transmitted to humans from migratory birds, and then picked up the infection from humans to pigs. In their body the virus has evolved and improved, yet again, did not spread to human populatio. Passing the three types of media, he scored in full force and was ready to journey around the world.

it is Proved that the virus “Spanish flu” is the ancestor of modern flu strains. Therefore, scientists, mindful of the “Spanish flu”, with a big wary of each new strain. Evolution has made the flu virus a perfect hunter: he continually and rapidly mutate, adapting to external conditions.

the Most reliable way to protect against flu is vaccination. That’s why experts are constantly working to improve vaccines.

Over the past 20 years, manufacturers have shifted from a monovalent vaccine (which protects against one strain of flu) for the three – and tetravalent. The first Russian quadrivalent vaccine for the prevention of influenza was in 2018.

According to experts, the use of tetravalent vaccines in Russia will prevent up to 265 thousand cases of influenza for the season compared to trivalent vaccines. But to completely eliminate the flu is, alas, impossible.

Bird flu

Bird flu

it is Known that this viral disease has struck birds in the XIX century. And the first human case of infection was registered in 1997.

the Disease caused by H5N1 virus that started to spread in 2003 and has grown into an epidemic. The largest outbreak of avian flu caused by the H7N9 virus occurred in 2013. Most of the infections recorded in China, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia.

ill sharply, the temperature rises, there is a dry cough, shortness of breath. The virus leads to pneumonia, kidney, liver and blood-forming organs. According to who, from 2003 to December 2013, from bird flu died 384 people.

Scientists have also developed vaccines, but the virus is not completely defeated.


the torso (in the people — SARS) appeared in November 2002 in China. During the six months of the epidemic became ill 8.5 thousand people, 813 of them had died. The majority of the infected people — the people of China, Hong Kong and Vietnam.

in cases of begins fever, headache and muscle pain, dry cough. The cold symptoms are absent. In the severe stage starts pneumonia, pulmonary edema and toxic shock. The overall mortality rate is 9-12%

an Effective vaccine against the causative agent, the coronavirus SARS-CoV, has not yet been established, but work is being done.

Swine flu

Although the outbreak of swine flu has happened before, actively talking about it since 2007, when the H1N1 virus began to spread in the Philippines. Two years later a major outbreak occurred in Mexico and the United States and developed into a pandemic.

According to who, there were more than 414 thousand confirmedindigenous cases of infection, more than 5 thousand people died.

the First symptoms of illness are the same as the flu. Then there are diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain.

Against swine flu developed several vaccines.


In West Africa in 2009-2010, an outbreak of bacterial meningitis. The epidemic has killed 931 people.

During the illness inflames the brain and spinal cord. Ill die, if not to provide him with timely help.

the Epidemic has been averted, providing the country with vaccines.


In 2010, Haiti was gripped by an epidemic of cholera. The source of infection was contaminated feces river. In January of 2012 killed nearly 7 thousand people.

the Country lacked antibiotics. To fight with the disease joined the international humanitarian organization.

middle East respiratory syndrome

Inflammatory disease causing coronavirus MERS-CoV. A major outbreak occurred in South Korea in 2015. 33 people died.

Cases were hospitalized with fever, cough, pain in the muscles or joints, shortness of breath and headache. In severe cases, the disease causes a change in the lung tissue and can cause septic shock.

the Vaccine does not yet exist.

Ebola Haemorrhagic fever

a Rare but very dangerous disease caused by the Ebola virus. The largest outbreak occurred in West Africa in 2014-2015. At this time died more than 11.3 thousand people.

At the initial stage of the disease the symptoms of the flu. Followed by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hiccups and rash sometimes. Death occurs from dehydration and too low blood pressure.

an Effective vaccine is still no, but development is underway.

Coronavirus infection COVID-19

Acute respiratory infection caused by a virus SARS-CoV-2, began to spread in the December 2019 in China. According to recent reports, the world contracted for a 92.8 per thousand people. 3.1 thousands died.

the symptoms of the disease — fever, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, pain in the muscles or joints, and sometimes sore throat and headache. The disease can occur in mild or severe form.

Vaccines are not yet there, but working on it very actively.