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Homeland Security

People born before 1918 epidemic immune to swine flu - report

RIA Novosti

09:54 14/07/2009 TOKYO, July 14 (RIA Novosti) - Japanese scientists have released a report that says people who were born before the 1918 flu pandemic have immunity to swine flu.

The 1918 influenza pandemic killed up to 100 million people worldwide. Those who survived the pandemic have antibodies against swine flu, or the A/H1N1 virus, the report said.

However, these people do not have immunity to seasonal flu.

The scientists took 216 blood samples of people born after 1895. Analysis was carried out on blood samples taken in 1999, before the outbreak of swine flu.

The World Health Organization (WHO) in its updated A/H1N1 report on July 6 confirmed 94,512 officially registered cases and 429 deaths in 135 countries and territories worldwide.

There were three flu pandemics in the last century. The 1918 Spanish flu was the most serious. It was followed by the Asian Flu in 1957, with up to 4 million deaths, and the Hong Kong Flu in 1968, resulting in about 1 million deaths.

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