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Deconstructing the 1918 Flu Virus: What Made It So Deadly?

Photo of an emergency hospital at Camp Funston, Kansas, that cared for large numbers of soldiers sickened by the 1918 flu.
An emergency hospital at Camp Funston, Kansas, cared for large numbers of soldiers sickened by the 1918 flu.
Credit: National Museum of Health and Medicine, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, DC. Image number NCP 1603.

The influenza pandemic of 1918, also known as the Spanish Flu, remains the most deadly outbreak in recent history. Death estimates range from 20 to 40 million people worldwide. Researchers are delving into old samples and historic records to find out why.


Toxic Traces: What Made the 1918 Influenza Virus So Deadly?

Can 1918 Flu Survivors Offer Clues for Protecting Against a New Pandemic?

Bacteria Fingered As Killer In 1918 Flu Pandemic

News Releases

Media Availability: Reconstructed 1918 Influenza Virus Has Yielded Key Insights, Scientists Say—Sept. 11, 2012

Media Availability: NIH Scientists Find Earliest Known Evidence of 1918 Influenza Pandemic—Sept. 19, 2011

NIH-Funded Scientists Find 2009 H1N1 Pandemic Influenza Vaccine Protects Mice from 1918 Influenza Virus—June 15, 2010

Dynasty: Influenza Virus in 1918 and Today—June 29, 2009

Bacterial Pneumonia Caused Most Deaths in 1918 Influenza Pandemic—Aug. 19, 2008

NIAID Media Availability: Scientists Describe How 1918 Influenza Virus Sample Was Exhumed in Alaska, A Finding Critical to Future Pandemic Planning—July 2, 2007

Rapid Response was Crucial to Containing the 1918 Flu Pandemic—April 2, 2007

Review of 1918 Pandemic Flu Studies Offers More Questions than Answers—Feb. 28, 2007

Experimental Vaccine Protects Mice Against Deadly 1918 Flu Virus—Oct. 17, 2006

Mouse Study Reveals New Clues about
Virulence of 1918 Influenza Virus
—Sept. 27, 2006

Unmasking the 1918 Influenza Virus:
An Important Step Toward Pandemic Influenza Preparedness
—Oct. 5, 2005

Additional Information

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Last Updated September 11, 2012