A new study has shown that the influenza virus, which killed millions of people worldwide during the fall of 1918, actually started circulating in the United States at least four months before it reached the pandemic levels.
Examination of lung tissue and other autopsy material from 68 American soldiers who died of respiratory infections in 1918 came up with the stunning revelation.
AdvertisementJeffery K. Taubenberger, M.D., Ph.D., of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, conducted the study using tissues preserved since 1918.
The researchers found proteins and genetic material from the 1918 influenza virus in specimens from 37 of the soldiers, including four who died between May and August 1918, months before the pandemic peaked.
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