Learn how the 1918 flu genome is helping to answer mysteries about the flu virus, such as where it originated, why it was so virulent, and why it struck with such ferocity among presumably healthy young adults.
Molecular pathologist Jeffery Taubenberger has spent much of the past eight years immersed in the genetic analysis of the virus responsible for the 1918 influenza pandemic.
In 1918, a flu pandemic ripped through the global population with such speed and virulence that by the end of the following year an estimated 40 million people would be dead — four times the number of victims eventually claimed by the First World War.
Over the centuries, humans have endured many influenza pandemics. Descriptions of the disease in Europe date back to 1100 A.D., and sporadic, isolated outbreaks have likely been occurring for many thousands of years.
Learn how the flu virus affects your system and what you can do to avoid it in this online interactive.