Military Review

How the Hong Kong flu of the late 1960s was remembered

How the Hong Kong flu of the late 1960s was remembered

Last March, the World Health Organization announced its new global influenza strategy for 2019-2030. Its goal was to prevent seasonal flu, control the transmission of viruses from animals to humans, and prepare for the next pandemic.

WHO global plans and history of viral pandemics

The emergence of a global strategy was commented on by the Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhan Ghebreyesus. He noted that more than 1 billion people suffer from influenza every year worldwide, 3-5 million cases are considered serious, 290-650 thousand people die.

There were already four influenza pandemics: in 1918, 1957, 1968 and in 2009 (H1N1). Dr. Gebreyesus then said: "The question is not whether there will be another pandemic, but when it will be." Among the risks of modern times, he called the transmission of the influenza virus from animals to humans.

A WHO report drew media attention to the pandemics experienced by humanity. The special place in this series was occupied by the Hong Kong flu, which was raging on the planet in 1968-1969. Probably because this pandemic is still remembered by the people living now with all its features and fears.

The Russian editions unanimously recalled Vladimir Vysotsky’s famous song “The Ballad of Going to Paradise”, in which, according to the poet, “the Hong Kong flu was defeated”. It turned out to be more difficult with disease statistics. None of the countries had a summary of numbers except the United States, which recorded the death of 33800 people from the Hong Kong flu.

The number of those who died in a pandemic went from walking around the world - from 1 to 4 million people. Hong Kong influenza itself was rated by modern virologists as "moderate in severity" with a mortality rate of less than 0,2%. So why did people remember him so much?

First of all, due to the transience of the disease. Literally in the first two days all of his symptoms showed up, including fever and fever. A person could “burn out" in three to five days. However, this applies to older people over 65 years of age with immunocompromised chronic diseases.

The rest, too, was not sweet. The Hong Kong flu was a lot of complications. He carried pneumonia, myocarditis, bronchitis, otitis media, tracheitis, encephalitis, meningitis and a whole bunch of diseases with him. Often they became chronic and even made people disabled.

Tenacious virus

The virus first appeared in the summer of 1968 in Hong Kong. The crews of sea vessels carried it around the world. Within two weeks, the flu spread to the southern provinces of China, to Vietnam and Singapore. By fall, the virus reached India, the Philippines, Northern Australia, Europe and the USA.

Hong Kong flu was brought to the United States by soldiers returning from the Vietnam War. Perhaps that is why mortality statistics were more or less kept here so as not to be suspended under the consequences of military injuries.

In the rest of the countries, the statistics of the Hong Kong flu were not much carried away. Experts attribute this to the fact that there was not enough laboratory data that could be used to link the deaths of specific people with a pandemic.

The virus, meanwhile, was quite tenacious. In 1969, he was noted in the Soviet Union, Japan, Africa and South America. This wave was weaker than the first. Hong Kong influenza bothered people a couple of times in the seventies. But a vaccine and established treatment methods were already working against him.

The Hong Kong flu is also remembered because its pandemic has been better studied than the previous ones. For example, the “Spanish woman” could only fully understand the sad memory in 2005. Then, American scientists from tissue samples of people who died from that pandemic were able to recreate the gene structure of the virus and find out why the "Spaniard" was so deadly.

Any flu today remains a serious form of seasonal disease. The figures given by the head of the World Health Organization recall this. WHO was preparing for a new pandemic of the disease, but was confronted with SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

Its inexperience and unpredictability forced the authorities of many countries to take emergency measures to localize the emerging outbreaks of the pandemic. This work will have a good result, which profile specialists do not doubt. They are sure that medicine will "saddle" the new virus, as it did with the Hong Kong flu.
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  1. Chervonny
    Chervonny April 1 2020 15: 36 New
    They are sure that medicine will "saddle" the new virus, as it did with the Hong Kong flu.

    Undoubtedly. Medicine will defeat the coronavirus.
    Hong Kong influenza of the late 1960s remained in the memory of people

    Coronavirus will remain in people's memory for a very long time. Perhaps in a century, our descendants in the school will be told in the history lessons about the pandemic 2020, just as we were told at the school about the epidemics of the Middle Ages.
    1. The popuas
      The popuas April 1 2020 15: 48 New
      If some kind of infection does not mow down humanity in the next hundred years hi
    2. Snail N9
      Snail N9 April 1 2020 15: 51 New
      In the USSR, everything was somehow "simpler":
      1. knn54
        knn54 April 1 2020 15: 58 New
        Just drank carbonated water.
        Regarding the flu. In 1982, he then cured himself with a new remedy, Remantadine, which was released by one of the Baltic states. Effective and against ticks.
        Since then I have been drinking 10 tablets for prophylaxis, one day, once a year. I haven’t complained yet (for almost 40 years).
        One flaw - STRONGLY hits the liver. If, for prevention, and not treatment, it is quite normal.
      2. svp67
        svp67 April 1 2020 16: 43 New
        Quote: Snail N9
        In the USSR, everything was somehow "simpler":

        To achieve such "simplicity" a lot of work was spent, a large number of people. In the same apparatus with soda, it was provided for the installation of a cylinder with a concentrate of disinfectant solution. Entire research institutes worked out various scenarios and methods of protecting the population, expeditions traveled around the world to take part in suppressing all possible foci of diseases, collecting material and information ...
        1. The comment was deleted.
        2. ycuce234-san
          ycuce234-san April 3 2020 11: 14 New
          In the same apparatus with soda, it was provided for the installation of a cylinder with a concentrate of disinfectant solution.

          So after all, technologies do not stand still and now the same glass in the filling chamber in the bowels of the apparatus can certainly be dried and briefly burned with air plasma from a plasma torch (as in air-plasma welding machines) and then cooled with liquid poured into it. A glass, probably, it will already be required, all the same, not glass, but quartz or even glass - for heat resistance during thermal shock, but this is solvable and the device is simpler and more reliable: instead of some kind of cloudy bottle with unstable efficiency, it is an annihilating plasma.
          1. svp67
            svp67 April 3 2020 15: 42 New
            Quote: ycuce234-san
            So technology does not stand still

            That's right, and that's why now reusable glass is replaced by disposable paper
            1. ycuce234-san
              ycuce234-san April 4 2020 12: 39 New
              now reusable glass replaced with disposable paper

              Not bad, yes, but I mostly find disposable plastic ones. And, from the point of view of epidemiology, the problems of storage, processing and accidental contact with used containers remained - that is, contact with the used glass is still possible - just reach out and take it.
    3. Lannan Shi
      Lannan Shi April 1 2020 15: 53 New
      Quote: Red
      Perhaps in a century, our descendants in the school will be told in the history lessons about the pandemic 2020, just as we were told at the school about the epidemics of the Middle Ages.

      In the winter of 2016-2017, 30 or 35 thousand people died in Italy. From the most common flu. From the crowns, at the moment, in the same Italy, many times less. And How? Are you already talking about the flu pandemic 2017 in history lessons?
      In the same 2017, about 2 million people died from tuberculosis in the world. But this evil is familiar, and the name is boring. Now, if he had just appeared yesterday, and called him something like - thiaravirusussmertim all the time, then yes, then he would have panicked completely. And about the crown, in 30 years, no one will remember except the doctors.
      1. Polymer
        Polymer April 2 2020 20: 40 New
        Whether this pandemic will be remembered or not is still an open question, but it will definitely spoil statistics on longevity. But with a decrease in the retirement age, it will most likely be the same with the prices - if they increased it, then they will not reduce it anymore.
  2. akarfoxhound
    akarfoxhound April 1 2020 16: 11 New
    - Rabinovich, you fell ill and still have not called a doctor! How do you explain this?
    - Firstly, I do not want to spoil the statistics ...
    - And secondly?
    - And secondly, I’m not sure that I have a coronavirus, but I’m sure that in quarantine in a regional hospital I will die ...
  3. Catfish
    Catfish April 1 2020 16: 11 New
    In 1969, he was noted in the Soviet Union,

    He served in the SA in the Far East (ZVO, Khabarovsk Territory, EAO) 1966 - 69 years. The author has the wrong information, the flu appeared in our region already in 1968. In our separate tank regiment for the sick, a separate barracks was allocated. It lasted no more than a month, there were no deaths. The personnel in both the "hospital" and "freedom" were treated exclusively with "folk methods" as far as finances allowed. And in the corridor of the barracks hung a large sheet of whatman paper with a caricature on which the Russian boot gives under the ass to a departing Chinese who says "Hong Kong flu." Such are the memories of youth. smile
    I hope that now we will break through without much loss. All health and confidence in victory. soldier
  4. AU Ivanov.
    AU Ivanov. April 1 2020 16: 50 New
    Hong Kong influenza mainly caused heart complications and caused meningitis. He did not kill as much as the crown, but left the disabled.
  5. nikvic46
    nikvic46 April 1 2020 18: 37 New
    Of course, we must help medicine. But since this is a menacing situation, we need to change the information field. If you open any news, there is a coronavirus, turn on the same thing. And they say that you don’t have to panic. Such a policy will lead to many people go into stress. And as you know in this state, any infection is dangerous to human life.
  6. Operator
    Operator April 1 2020 19: 10 New
    The Spanish woman (blue death, N1H1 flu) was first registered in March 1918 at a training camp for US Army recruits in Colorado. The cook fell ill, then about 1000 military personnel, about fifty of whom died suddenly.

    Acute respiratory disease developed within one to two days and was accompanied by high fever and blue skin due to the lungs refusing to transfer oxygen from the air to the blood. The severe disease affected people of young and middle age from 18 to 40 years. The virus caused them hyperactivity of the immune system with an increase in body temperature over 40 degrees. Mortality was 5%. Younger and older people easily transferred the virus or transferred it asymptomatically.

    It is believed that the null patient - the cook contracted the flu from the pig. The genome of the virus was deciphered in 2005 under the name N1H1 by extracting it from the lungs of a resident of Alaska who died in 1920 and was buried in permafrost.

    Due to the fact that the surviving Colorado recruits disappeared all the symptoms of the disease, they were transported by rail across America (infecting a mass of people on the way), transported by sea to Europe to the front against Germany, where they rebranded as their allies the French, British and Italians , and opponents of the Germans, Austro-Hungarians and Turks. From the Germans, the virus spread to the Russians. In addition, all the neutral countries of Europe, including Spain, were infected.

    The warring countries carefully concealed the fact of the epidemic, because the first information about it was published by Spanish doctors (hence the name "Spanish"). After the end of the WWI, the virus, together with the demobilized soldiers, spread to Asia, Africa and South America. In Russia, the spread of the virus contributed to the Civil War. In 1920, the virus disappeared by itself in connection with the coverage of the entire population of the Earth, which acquired immunity to it.

    The total number of deaths from the Spanish woman is estimated at 55 million (mainly in India and China).
  7. shinobi
    shinobi April 8 2020 00: 37 New
    So, like be, H1N1 is Spanish? Not? If you put “a” from the front through | , then it’s already a “swine” flu. Or did you misunderstand something?