March 2nd, 2009


Sidekick to the Flu of 1918

It turns out that Strep super-infection may have killed many of the victims of this pandemic flu.

Keith Klugman of Emory University in Atlanta and colleagues looked at what information is available about the 1918 flu pandemic, which killed anywhere between 50 million and 100 million people globally in the space of about 18 months.

Some research has shown that on average it took a week to 11 days for people to die -- which fits in more with the known pattern of a bacterial infection than a viral infection, Klugman's group wrote in a letter to the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

"We observed a similar 10-day median time to death among soldiers dying of influenza in 1918," they wrote.

People with influenza often get what is known as a "superinfection" with a bacterial agent. In 1918 it appears to have been Streptococcus pneumoniae.

"Neither antimicrobial drugs nor serum therapy was available for treatment in 1918," Klugman's team wrote.

EDIT 5/2010
ASPIRIN ROLE IN FLU OF 1918 per Dr Blake
Bayer tried to patent aspirin
big lawsuit in teens to maintain patent, lost in 1917
then people can make aspirin at home
1917 everyone starts making generic aspirin
minimum toxic dose: 8g
during flu epidemic they were giving 5-8grams
new wonder drug given to soldiers, taking too high doses
soldiers die of pulmonary hemorrhage
news talks about how wicked strong the flu is but maybe the aspirin was killing