[Influenza virus]

Medicina (Kaunas). 2007;43(12):919-29.
[Article in Lithuanian]


Every year, especially during the cold season, many people catch an acute respiratory disease, namely flu. It is easy to catch this disease; therefore, it spreads very rapidly and often becomes an epidemic or a global pandemic. Airway inflammation and other body ailments, which form in a very short period, torment the patient several weeks. After that, the symptoms of the disease usually disappear as quickly as they emerged. The great epidemics of flu have rather unique characteristics; therefore, it is possible to identify descriptions of such epidemics in historic sources. Already in the 4th century bc, Hippocrates himself wrote about one of them. It is known now that flu epidemics emerge rather frequently, but there are no regular intervals between those events. The epidemics can differ in their consequences, but usually they cause an increased mortality of elderly people. The great flu epidemics of the last century took millions of human lives. In 1918-19, during "The Spanish" pandemic of flu, there were around 40-50 millions of deaths all over the world; "Pandemic of Asia" in 1957 took up to one million lives, etc. Influenza virus can cause various disorders of the respiratory system: from mild inflammations of upper airways to acute pneumonia that finally results in the patient's death. Scientist Richard E. Shope, who investigated swine flu in 1920, had a suspicion that the cause of this disease might be a virus. Already in 1933, scientists from the National Institute for Medical Research in London - Wilson Smith, Sir Christopher Andrewes, and Sir Patrick Laidlaw - for the first time isolated the virus, which caused human flu. Then scientific community started the exhaustive research of influenza virus, and the great interest in this virus and its unique features is still active even today.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • English Abstract
  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Antigenic Variation
  • Antigens, Viral / immunology
  • Birds
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease Outbreaks* / history
  • Ecology
  • Genome, Viral
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Influenza A virus* / physiology
  • Influenza B virus / physiology
  • Influenza in Birds / epidemiology*
  • Influenza in Birds / transmission
  • Influenza in Birds / virology
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology*
  • Influenza, Human / history
  • Influenza, Human / mortality
  • Influenza, Human / transmission
  • Influenza, Human / virology
  • Influenzavirus C / physiology
  • Mammals
  • Middle Aged
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / epidemiology*
  • Orthomyxoviridae* / genetics
  • Orthomyxoviridae* / immunology
  • Orthomyxoviridae* / isolation & purification
  • Orthomyxoviridae* / physiology
  • Swine
  • Virus Replication


  • Antigens, Viral