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Russian Flu Pandemic: Researchers’ hunt for evidence crisis was undiscovered coronavirus

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Coronavirus: Lifting restrictions ‘right thing to do’ says Eustice

The so-called Russian Flu raged through what was then the Russian Empire 130 years ago. First discovered in St Petersburg in 1889, within four months the disease had spread everywhere, causing an estimated one million deaths world-wide. Hospitals were overwhelmed with patients, and the were elderly killed at a significantly higher rate than their younger counterparts.

Schools and factories were forced to close because so many students and workers were sick.

A portion of the infected described an odd symptom: the loss of smell and taste, and some of those reported exhaustion beyond their recovery.

Up until now, the event has been considered by scientists as a flu pandemic.

But researchers revisiting it believe the symptoms were more similar to those seen today with COVID-19 than the flu.

If a coronavirus caused the Russian Flu, some believe that pathogen may still be around; its descendants circulating worldwide as one of the four coronaviruses that cause the common cold.

Russian Flu: The 19th century pandemic claimed the lives of an estimated one million people

Russian Flu: The 19th century pandemic claimed the lives of an estimated one million people (Image: GETTY)

Coronavirus: We are far better equipped to tackle pandemics than our ancestors

Coronavirus: We are far better equipped to tackle pandemics than our ancestors (Image: GETTY)

If true, it would be different from flu pandemics, whose viruses stay for a while only to be replaced by new variants in the future that cause a new pandemic.

Scientists say that if that is what happened to the Russian Flu, then there may be hope for the future.

However, if today’s coronavirus behaves more like the flu, immunity against respiratory viruses is fleeting, meaning populations may have to receive yearly COVID-19 shots to keep the virus at bay.

The problem researchers have with analysing the Russian Flu is that there is very little hard data.

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Influenza: The virus has blighted populations throughout history

Influenza: The virus has blighted populations throughout history (Image: GETTY)

Molecular biologists could solve this, however, as they now have the tools to pull shards of old virus from preserved lung tissue from Russian Flu victims to figure out what sort of virus it was.

Researchers are now on the hunt for such preserved tissue, scouring museums and medical schools that might have old jars of specimens that still contain fragments of lung.

Tom Ewing of Virginia Tech is one of the few historians who has studied the Russian Flu pandemic.

When asked by the New York Times whether he believed the Russian Flu was a coronavirus, he mused: “I would say, maybe.”

Dr Ewig could not help but notice the many similarities between then and now: institutions and workplaces shutting down because of widespread illness; hospitals and doctors overwhelmed with patients; repeated waves of infection.

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[ANALYSIS] 

History: A mid-19th century depiction of influenza

History: A mid-19th century depiction of influenza (Image: GETTY)

World War I: An influenza ward at a US army camp in France

World War I: An influenza ward at a US army camp in France (Image: GETTY)

Dr Scott Podolsky, a professor of global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School, told the publication the idea is “plausible.”

Meanwhile, Dr Arnold Monto, professor of public health, epidemiology and global health at the University of Michigan, considered it “a very interesting speculation.”

He added: “We have long wondered where coronaviruses came from.

“Has there ever been a coronavirus pandemic in the past?”

Harald Bruessow, a retired Swiss microbiologist and editor of the journal Microbial Biotechnology, drew attention to a paper published in 2005.

Face masks: Influenza patients watch a show at a US army hospital, 1917

Face masks: Influenza patients watch a show at a US army hospital, 1917 (Image: GETTY)

It concluded that another coronavirus is circulating today, known as OC43.

This coronavirus causes severe colds, and may have jumped from cows to humans in 1890.

Three other less virulent coronaviruses circulate too, with the publications speculating that “perhaps one of those viruses, or OC43, is a variant left over from the Russian flu pandemic”.

Having delved into old newspaper and journal articles and public health reports on the Russian Flu, Dr Bruessow has uncovered that some patients had complained about conditions like a loss of taste and smell and long COVID-19-like symptoms.

Hospital: Nurses tend to influenza patients during the 1918 flu pandemic

Hospital: Nurses tend to influenza patients during the 1918 flu pandemic (Image: GETTY)

And Dr Ewing, examining 1890 records from the State Board of Health in Connecticut, found a pattern of the elderly being killed at a disproportionate level to younger people and children.

If this was the case, it would make the Russian Flu unlike other influenza viruses, which generally kill the very young as well as the very old.

But historical records cannot readily answer the question of whether a coronavirus caused the Russian Flu.

Dr Frank Snowden of Yale University cautioned that any lessons he could draw from that pandemic that could apply to a world in which the novel coronavirus has shaken societies would be “fantasy.”

At this point, the idea that the Russian Flu might have been caused by a coronavirus remains speculative.

But researchers are ramping up the search for similarities between the two events in order to see how the world might recover from today’s pandemic — and how long that recovery might last.



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Pay Attention To Childhood Cancer

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Childhood Cancer

Childhood cancer is not very common, since it is estimated that for every 100 adults affected by cancer, there is one child who suffers from it. It comprises numerous types of tumors that develop in children and adolescents from 0 to 18 years of age. The most common types are leukemia, brain tumor, lymphomas, and solid tumors such as neuroblastoma and Willms tumor (kidney tumor).

Don’t Ignore Signs

Sometimes the symptoms of childhood cancer can be confused with those of other diseases, so it can take time to obtain a timely diagnosis that allows the disease to be treated in time. In this sense. Most doctors recommend that parents not ignore the signs, among which are persistent bone and abdominal pain, fever without apparent causes for more than a week, bruising or bleeding from the nose or gums, tumor or node growth, weight loss, among others.

Genetic Factors

Genetic factors and malformations play an important role in the onset of the disease, unlike in adults, where environmental factors such as infectious agents, radiation, smoking, minerals, and chemical compounds have a high incidence. In children, the main cause is still unknown.

The Diagnosis 

There are numerous diagnostic tests used to detect childhood cancer; these allow to determine the type of tumor, where it is located and if it has invaded neighboring organs, (if it has metastasized) for which laboratory tests, imaging studies, and biopsies are used. From which the type of treatment to be used to combat the disease will be established.

Medical Treatment

Many doctors give the reassurance that childhood cancer should be treated in institutions where there is a multidisciplinary health team, such as the Cancer Institute. This team consists of pediatric surgeons, radiation oncologists, orthopedists, hematologists, clinical oncologists, psycho-oncologists, among others.

Seek Local Help

The treatment is multidisciplinary, where excellence, professionalism, dedication, avant-garde in medical knowledge are combined, whose main objective is the fight against cancer. You should also consider local centers that offer cancer care Orange County-based.

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'This is huge' Swedish Air Force jet deployed over Belarus border in threat to Putin

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The Scandinavian country is not a member of NATO, but could be ready to trade in its neutral status in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

News of Stockholm’s decision to send a jet was revealed by twitter user Jamming.

They wrote: “Swedish Air Force Korpen active over Poland border area with Belarus.

“Sweden part of surveillance of Belarus and Ukraine!!!

“This is a huge political statement! Update on SwAF Korpen.”

 

The Gulfstream IV aircraft was tracked taking off from Linking airport and then flying towards the city of Grodno in western Belarus.

It was flying at an altitude of just under 12,000 metres at a speed of 836 kilometres per hour.

Although Sweden is not a NATO member, it is an “enhanced opportunity partner” of the military alliance.

The government also signed a statement in 2018 pledging to strengthen its defence cooperation.

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson rejected calls by opposition parties earlier this month for the country to join NATO.

She argued that such a move would further destabilise Europe.

Her statement came in the wake of threats from Moscow that NATO membership would bring “serious military-political consequences” for Sweden.

However, there is growing public support among Swedes for their country to join the transatlantic military alliance.

A poll conducted in late February by broadcaster SVT found that 41 percent of the public supported NATO membership, while thirty-five percent were against.

It was the first time an opinion study in Sweden had found more people in favour of the country joining NATO than were against it.

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Putin humiliated: Russia tries and fails to capture defiant Ukraine village for tenth time

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Russia has tried and failed to capture the village of the Chornobaevka ten times, according to Ukrainian presidential adviser Aleksey Arestovich. Videos shared by Ukrainian officials online showed the “tenth defeat of the Russian invaders in Chornobaevka”. The continued failures to capture the village comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said last night that his country’s forces had “dealt powerful blows” to the Russian military.

Mr Arestovich told a press conference that Russian troops had tried to take Chornobaevka for the tenth time, but the assault again ended in failure.

Following this, the head of the nearby Mykolaiv Regional State Administration Vitaly Kim published a video showing “the defeat” as explosions erupt on the outskirts of the village.

The resolute village has become famous in Ukraine for its defence, as President Zelensky commended Chornobaivka last weekend for fending off six invasions at the time.

He said: “Ukrainian Chornobaivka will go down in war history. This is a place where the Russian military and their commanders have shown themselves for who they truly are – incompetent, capable of simply handing over their people for slaughter.

“Our military has annihilated the invaders near Chornobaivka six times.

“Six times, yet they keep coming back.”

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Online users ridiculed the latest Russian failures and hailed the Ukrainian defiance, with one Reddit user remarking: “At some point, I think every military intelligence outfit looking at this must be wondering how bad the rot is in the Russian military.”

One user visavillem added: “So this is the 10th time. Are Russians trying to bait Ukrainians to waste ammo with some obsolete/broken equipment, or are they really so stupid, that they keep stepping on the same rake again and again?”

Another user on Reddit adfgqert posted: “The Ukrainian people have resolve and determination that is beyond what I think is normal.

“Beyond inspirational and they bring fighting for what they believe in to a new level for me.” 

This comes amid ongoing setbacks for Russian military forces in the south of the country.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Russia had withdrawn most of its helicopters from a strategic airport in Kherson, in southern Ukraine, according to satellite images.

Kherson has also been the site of several local protests against the occupying Russian soldiers.

The official said: “We can’t corroborate exactly who is in control of Kherson but the point is, it doesn’t appear to be as solidly in Russian control as it was before.

“That would make it very, very difficult for them to make any kind of ground movement on Odesa.

“That would be a significant development, no question about that, in terms of the southern part of the war.” 



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