Spanish flu warning: ‘GREATEST ENEMY of all’ could return to wreak havoc, expert says

Thursday, September 20, 2018
By Paul Martin

THE mutation behind the Spanish Flu “has not gone away completely” and could give way to another epidemic of the deadly infectious disease, GP Dr Fari Ahmad claimed.

Thu, Sep 20, 2018

The Spanish Flu caused the death of 50 to 100 million people across the globe over the course of two years from 1918 to 1920.

The Spanish Flu was one of the deadliest pandemics in human history and was created by a mutation of the Influenza A virus that soldiers returning from the frontline during World War 1 helped export globally.

Asked whether Spanish Flu could return to wreak havoc around the world, Dr Fari Ahmed told BBC Breakfast: “In theory, yes. The flu has not gone away completely, it’s certainly not harmless.

“But we understand flu a lot better. We understand how the flu spreads so I think we are in a better place but I wouldn’t say be complacent.”

Dr Ahmed argued the spread of the virus was also facilitated by the lack of knowledge of doctors, and the poor living and nutritional conditions weakening people at the time.

Medical authorities did not know how to respond, with citizens even being urged to smoke more cigarettes to kill the germs in their lungs. Other advice, such as wearing face masks or washing tenement closes with disinfectant, would have been more effective.

She continued: “When the Spanish flu happened I don’t think people quite understood what was going on for a while.

“They didn’t have a lot to help them, we didn’t have any vaccines, we couldn’t help people when they developed complications like pneumonia. People weren’t nutritionally as well as they are now and we monitor things a lot better.”

Initial reports of the deadly pandemic where squashed by wartime authorities attempting to uphold morale in the United Kingdom, France and the United States.

Newspapers where however allowed to report on the effects of the ravaging disease on neutral Spain, resulting in the influenza being dubbed the Spanish Flu.

The source of the 1918 flu pandemic is shrouded in mystery, although some experts now believe the virus developed in the filthy and overcrowded British military camp at Étaples in France.

Others say it originated in the Far East and was spread to Europe by American soldiers when the USA entered the war in 1917, with some of the earliest confirmed cases recorded at army bases in Kansas.

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