1889–90 flu pandemic
The 1889–1890 flu pandemic (October 1889 – December 1890, with recurrences March – June 1891, November 1891 – June 1892, spring 1893 and winter 1893–1894) was a deadly influenza pandemic that killed about 1 million people worldwide. The outbreak was dubbed "Asiatic flu" or "Russian flu" (not to be confused with the 1977–1978 epidemic caused by Influenza A/USSR/90/77 H1N1, which was also called Russian flu). For some time the virus strain responsible was conjectured (but not proven) to be Influenza A virus subtype H2N2. More recently, the strain was asserted to be Influenza A virus subtype H3N8.
Outbreak and spread
The 1889 Russian flu was the first pandemic to occur in the modern connected world. The 19 largest European countries, including Russia, had 202,887 km of railroads and transatlantic travel by boat took less than six days (not significantly different than current travel time by air, given the time scale of the global spread of a pandemic).
The pandemic was first recorded in Saint Petersburg, Russia in December 1889. In four months it had spread throughout the northern hemisphere. Deaths peaked in St Petersburg on December 1, 1889, and in the United States during the week of January 12, 1890. The median time between the first reported case and peak mortality was five weeks.
Identification of virus subtype responsible
Researchers have tried for many years to identify the subtypes of Influenza A responsible for the 1889–1890, 1898–1900 and 1918 epidemics. Initially, this work was primarily based on "seroarcheology"—the detection of antibodies to influenza infection in the sera of elderly people—and it was thought that the 1889–1890 pandemic was caused by Influenza A subtype H2, the 1898–1900 epidemic by subtype H3, and the 1918 pandemic by subtype H1. With the confirmation of H1N1 as the cause of the 1918 flu pandemic following identification of H1N1 antibodies in exhumed corpses, reanalysis of seroarcheological data has indicated that Influenza A subtype H3 (possibly the H3N8 subtype), is the most likely cause for the 1889–1890 pandemic.
- 23 January 1891 Prince Baudouin of Belgium.
- 10 February 1891 Sofia Kovalevskaya
- 8 May 1891 Helena Blavatsky
- 15 May 1891 Edwin Long
- 3 June 1891 Oliver St John
- 9 June 1891 Henry Gawen Sutton
- 1 July 1891 Frederic Edward Manby
- 20 December 1891 Grisell Baillie
- 28 December 1891 William Arthur White
- January 1892 Charles A. Spring
- 10 January 1892 John George Knight
- 14 January 1892 Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, grandson of Queen Victoria
- 20 January 1892 Douglas Hamilton
- 15 April 1892 Amelia Edwards
- 5 May 1892 Gustavus Cheyney Doane
- 24 May 1892 Charles Arthur Broadwater
- 10 June 1892 Charles Fenerty
- 21 April 1893 Edward Stanley, 15th Earl of Derby
- 31 August 1893 William Cusins
- 15 December 1893 Samuel Laycock
- 16 December 1893 Tom Cottingham Edwards-Moss
- 3 January 1894 Hungerford Crewe, 3rd Baron Crewe
- 24 January 1894 Constance Fenimore Woolson
- 14 March 1894 John T. Ford
- 19 June 1894 William Mycroft
- Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Company - Case in English contract law, concerning an advertisement of 1891 for a putative flu remedy
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