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The American Experience

Dr. Jeffery Taubenberger on: Speed Kills
 Dr. Taubenberger of the Armed Forces Inst. pf Patholgy Listen in Real Audio

The spread of influenza is remarkably rapid. And looking at pandemics and descriptions of them going back to the 1700's, in which there must have been a lot less movement of people around the world, still spread amazingly rapidly. In 1918, the virus clearly spread within a period of a month or so in the Fall all over the world. Certainly the movement of people and transports and troops in response to World War I was probably a factor, but the other pandemics that have occurred in this century, in '57 and '68, were not during war time. So these viruses spread just as rapidly all the way around the world.

So I think that you would say that maybe it's worse now because you have jumbo jets coming from Hong Kong to major cities all over the world every day, that that would probably help the spread. I think that even without modern transportation viruses spread, these viruses spread quickly enough. So it would be a real worry. I mean, the virus really, if it got a foothold in humans and could be passed from human to human, it really could spread around the world within a period of months.



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