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Nat Immunol. 2007 Nov;8(11):1188-93.

Protective immunity and susceptibility to infectious diseases: lessons from the 1918 influenza pandemic.

Author information

1
Emory Vaccine Center and Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA. ra@microbio.emory.edu

Abstract

The influenza pandemic of 1918 killed nearly 50 million people worldwide and was characterized by an atypical W-shaped mortality curve, where adults between the ages of 30-60 years fared better than younger adults aged 18-30 years. In this review, we will discuss why this influenza virus strain was so virulent and how immunological memory to the 1918 virus may have shaped the W mortality curve. We will end on the topic of the 'honeymoon' period of infectious diseases--the clinically documented period between the ages of 4-13 years during which children demonstrate less morbidity and/or mortality to infectious diseases, in general, compared with young adults.

PMID:
17952044
DOI:
10.1038/ni1530
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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