Global Flu and You: A History of Influenza

Front Cover
Reaktion Books, Feb 15, 2013 - Science - 191 pages
Winter brings snow, ice, and freezing temperatures, but these climatic conditions are also the harbingers of another time of year: flu season. We all know the signs—chills, fever, sore throat, muscle pains, coughing—and hope that this common illness will make us sick for only a few days. But though the flu may seem harmless, influenza results in between 250,000 and 500,000 deaths every year and can spread virulently around the world. In pandemic years, the flu can kill millions. The recurrence of the Spanish Flu virus, the appearance and spread of Bird Flu, and the 2009 Swine Flu have heightened concerns about the dangers posed by flu pandemics. Drawing on his extensive research into influenza pandemics, George Dehner refutes the idea that these are a new phenomenon. In Global Flu and You, he traces the origins of the disease and outlines the societal and cultural changes that enabled the virus to become an epidemic threat. He reveals that while medical and scientific breakthroughs in studying and protecting against the virus have made rapid progress, demographic, economic, and technical changes have served to speed up and amplify the potential impacts of an influenza pandemic. Accessibly written for any reader, Global Flu and You exposes the facts and fictions of an illness we could all succumb to and is a must-read for anyone concerned with their own—and the world’s—health.
 

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Contents

Introduction
7
1 Know Your Enemy
17
2 The Murky Past of Influenza
31
3 Misidentifications and False Starts
48
4 The 1920s to the 1980s
74
5 Renewed Fears of Flu
108
6 Yet Another Surprise
135
References
146
Bibliography
172
Acknowledgments
186
Index
188
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

George Dehner is assistant professor in the Department of History at Wichita State University in Kansas. He is the author of Influenza: A Century of Science and Public Health Response.

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