SAN­CHITA SHARMA

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - METRO -

We’ve all had sev­eral bouts of in­fluenza or the flu, which causes headaches, runny nose, cough and mus­cle pain. This vi­ral in­fec­tion is self-lim­it­ing, with se­vere ill­ness last­ing for two to three days and most peo­ple re­cov­er­ing within a week af­ter us­ing non-pre­scrip­tion medicines for fever and pain.

It’s not con­sid­ered a se­ri­ous ill­ness be­cause it rarely causes hospi­tal­i­sa­tion in healthy peo­ple and kills caus­ing com­pli­ca­tions and co-in­fec­tions and ag­gra­vat­ing ex­ist­ing ill­nesses. The cause of death is rarely recorded as in­fluenza. It kills up to 650,000 peo­ple ev­ery year, es­ti­mates the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion, with most deaths oc­cur­ring from pneu­mo­nia, heart or brain in­flam­ma­tion and cir­cu­la­tory shock from or­gans not get­ting enough blood or oxy­gen.

2018 marks the 100th an­niver­sary of 1918 in­fluenza pan­demic pop­u­larly known as “Span­ish flu”, which in­fected an es­ti­mated 500 mil­lion peo­ple world­wide — about one-third of the planet’s then pop­u­la­tion — and killed be­tween 20 mil­lion to 50 mil­lion peo­ple, in­clud­ing in In­dia. The only decade in which In­dia’s pop­u­la­tion did not regis­ter a decadal growth is 1910-1920, ac­cord­ing to the Cen­sus of In­dia, with ex­perts at­tribut­ing the re­ver­sal in pop­u­la­tion growth to in­creased deaths from the flu.

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