This photograph of CDC’s Dr. Terrence Tumpey, Microbiologist for the National Center for Infectious Diseases, shows him examining specimens of the 1918 Pandemic Influenza Virus—a virus that was reconstructed in hopes of combating a future influenza pandemic.
Dr. Tumpey recreated the 1918 influenza virus to identify the characteristics that made the 1918 influenza virus so harmful. This effort enables researchers to develop new vaccines and treatments for future pandemic influenza viruses.
The 1918 flu epidemic was caused by an influenza A virus (H1N1), killing more than 500,000 people in the United States, and up to 50 million worldwide. Many people died within the first few days after infection, and others died of complications later. Nearly half of those who died were young, healthy adults. Influenza A (H1N1) viruses still circulate today after being introduced again into the human population in the 1970s.
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Photo credit: James Gathany
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CDC – Office of Communication – Media Release – 1918 Influenza Virus
CDC – Information about Influenza Pandemics