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Letter: Your Say - Any antidotes..?

Byline: G B BUTLER

WITH the recent outbreak of a pretty tough flu strain, it's interesting to look back and ask questions about the black death and Spanish flu, both of which killed millions.

Black death was supposedly caused by rats but a recent book, researched by doctors via old records, suggests the problem was actually haemorrhaging plague.

Spanish flu raged from mid-1918 for about 18 months and killed more civilians than the soldiers of all combatants killed in the First World War. The name derives from the Spanish King, who was a victim, although the disease originated in a US Army training camp in Georgia.

Apparently the lungs filled with liquid and the victims drowned. From walking to the local shop to being dead could take as little as midday to 4pm, according to an old chap who lived through that time. He also said burials were taking place around the clock.

Strange these two virulent diseases never had a second bite at the human population.

Maybe a local hospital disease control expert could explain why, and also whether doctors today would recognise symptoms, and whether there are antidotes?

G B BUTLER, Stockton
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jan 9, 2009
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