Over the course of human history, the influenza virus has been responsible for killing millions of people. What’s more terrifying is that some scientists believe that we are only a few short years away from experiencing another pandemic like the one in 1918. More people died during the year-long epidemic than the four-year-long Bubonic Plague.
The flu is a constantly evolving virus and we have no cure for it, which makes it extra frightening.
Here are some of the most insane and interesting facts about the flu that may surprise you.
1. Lost wages and reduced productivity costs America billions of dollars every year due to cases of the flu.
2. Annually, the flu affects about 20% of Americans.
3. It is estimated that between 3-5 million people get serious cases of the flu every year, and 250,000-500,000 people die from it.
4. During the Spanish Flu, Arizona passed a law that made it illegal for people to shake hands.
5. Scientists believe that flu pandemics occur two or three times each century.
6. Swine flu has been relatively tame, but the last few flu pandemics all started off mild before they became incredibly lethal.
7. The mortality rate of SARS was 9.6%, killing 744 out of the 8,000 known cases.
8. The Spanish Flu killed more Americans in one year than those who died in battle during WWI, WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
9. The same outbreak killed more people in 24 weeks than AIDS did in 24 years.
10. Flu pandemics are more likely to affect younger, healthy people because their immune systems will overreact to damage going on in the body.
11. At the University of Michigan, students could be suspended for not wearing masks during the Spanish Flu.
12. Viruses mutate more in one day than humans have in millions of years.
13. The Hong Kong flu pandemic of 1968-1969 killed over 1 million people.
14. Viruses are between 20 and 100 times smaller than bacteria and can only be seen through a microscope.
15. Face masks are not believed to be of much help in stopping the spread of the flu. They do not form a tight seal around the face and block only large droplets, not small viruses, from coming into contact with the wearer’s mouth and nose.
16. Air travel has dramatically increased the rate at which flu cases can be spread.
17. Most flu-related deaths are because of bacterial pneumonia, a complication of influenza.
18. The symptoms of the swine flu include fever, coughing, a sore throat, a runny nose, body aches, headaches, chills, nausea, and fatigue. This makes it incredibly hard to distinguish from a regular case of the flu.
19. Pigs are apparently the perfect breeding grounds for new strains of the flu because they can infect three different species: pigs, birds, and humans.
(via Random History)
It’s hard to believe some of these facts — they are truly mind-boggling! I know that I will never underestimate the flu ever again; it’s one serious disease.
Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/flu-facts/