Equine influenza

Equine influenza (Horse flu) refers to varieties of Influenzavirus A that are endemic in horses. Horse flu viruses were first isolated in 1956. There are two main types of virus called equine-1 (H7N7) which commonly affects horse heart muscle and equine-2 (H3N8) which is usually more severe. Horse flu is endemic throughout the world.

The disease has a nearly 100% infection rate in an unvaccinated horse population that has not been previously exposed to the virus. The incubation time is one to five days.

Horses with horse flu can run a fever, have a dry hacking cough, have a runny nose, and become depressed and reluctant to eat or drink for several days but usually recover in 2 to 3 weeks. [ [http://www.usyd.edu.au/su/rirdc/articles/disease/flu.htm University of Sydney RIRDC equine research and development website] ]

"Vaccination schedules generally require a primary course of 2 doses, 3-6 weeks apart, followed by boosters at 6-12 month intervals. It is generally recognised that in many cases such schedules may not maintain protective levels of antibody and more frequent administration is advised in high-risk situations." [ [http://195.224.162.216/equiflunet/equiflunet_vaccines.html equiflunet_vaccines] ]

It is a common requirement at shows in Britain that horses are vaccinated against Equine flu and a vaccination card must be produced; the FEI requires vaccination every 6 months. [ [http://www.uaeequafed.ae/veterinary.htm UAE Equestrian & Racing Federation] ] [ [http://www.horsesport.org/veterinary/PDFS/InflVaccGuide-E.pdf FEI guidelines] ]

In August 2007, a notable outbreak occurred in Australia which had previously been free of the virus. The virus has now been fully contained and Australia is Equine Influenza free.

The Great Epizootic of 1872

"The Great Epizootic of 1872" was an 1872 outbreak of equine influenza in North America that brought the entire US economy to a virtual standstill, precipitated the Panic of 1873, and was the "most destructive recorded episode of equine influenza in history". "It was an equine tragedy so deadly that one wave of the infection swept south like a Biblical plague from its origin in Toronto, Canada, down the Atlantic Seaboard to Havana, Cuba, leaving everything in its path in ruins in weeks, while another branch simultaneously raced west to the Pacific." [ [http://www.lrgaf.org/news%20stories/epizootic.htm Running Like Wildfire - A Study of the most destructive recorded episode of equine influenza in history.] ] The number of sick horses approached 100% and mortality rates ranged between 1% and 10%. Many horses were unable to stand in their stalls and those who could stand coughed violently and were too weak to pull loads. The whole street railway industry ground to a halt. Every aspect of American transportation was affected. Locomotives came to a halt as coal could not be delivered to power them while fires in many major cities raged unchecked. One fire in Boston destroyed over 700 buildings. Even the United States Army Cavalry was reduced to fighting the Apaches on foot, who likewise found their mounts too sick to do battle. The outbreak forced men to pull wagons by hand, while trains and ships full of cargo sat unloaded, tram cars stood idle and deliveries of basic community essentials were no longer being made. The effect this disease had on the US economy should not be understated. The Long Riders' Guild Academic Foundation founder CuChullaine O'Reilly "said the Great Epizootic was the worst equestrian catastrophe in the history of the United States - and perhaps the world." [ [http://www.horsetalk.co.nz/features/equineflu-131.shtml How equine flu brought the US to a standstill] ]

Report of the Commissioner of Agriculture for the year 1872

The United States' "report on influenza" called "Report of the Commissioner of Agriculture for the year 1872" by James Law (Professor of Veterinary Sciences, Cornell University) includes the following: [ [http://www.lrgaf.org/news%20stories/Report%20of%20Commissioner%20of%20Agriculture%201872-abridged.pdf Report of the Commissioner of Agriculture for the year 1872] ]

Definition - An epizootic specific fever of a very debilitating type, with inflammation of therespiratory mucous membrane, and less frequently of other organs, having an average durationof ten to fifteen days, and not conferring immunity from a second attack in subsequentepizootics.

Synonyms - The corresponding disease in man was known to the older physicians as Peripneumonianotha, P. typhoides, P. catarrhalis, Pleuritis humida, Fidris catarrahlis, Catarrheplumonaire, Catarrhus á contagio, Defluxus catarrjalis, Cephalagia contagiosa, Rheumaepidemicuno, &c. As seen in animals it has received the following designations: Epizooticcatarrh, catarrhal fever, gastro-catarrhal fever, mucous fever, gangrenous peripneumonia, epizooticpleuro-pneumonia, entero-pneumo-carditis, epizootic nervous fever, distemper, blitzkatarrh, rheumatic catarrh, la grippe, cocote, typhose, septicœmio, &c

Past History - The frequent co-existence of an epizootic catarrh in man and the horse, andto a less extent in other animals, lends some color to the hypothesis that they are due toclosely-allied causes. The records of its prevalence in man might therefore be profitablyreferred to as illustrating the action of such causes at a time when veterinary records are fewand imperfect.

Between 415 and 412 before Christ, Hippocrates and Livius report the extraordinaryprevalence of catarrhal maladies in Greece and Rome, which Schuurrer and Hæser suppose to have been influenza. Diodorus Siculus reports an epidemic, apparently of the same kind, in theAthenian army in Sicily in 415.Absyrtus, a Greek veterinarian, writing about A. D. 330, describes a disease in the horsehaving the general characters of influenza. This appears to be the earliest record of such anaffection in the lower animals, yet the reports of epidemics at an earlier date almost necessarilyimply the existence of the equine malady.Passing over a number of epidemics, we come to the next recorded equine influenza in A.D.1299. In this year a catarrhal epidemic spread widely in Europe, (Parkes.) The equine diseaseis thus described by Laurentius Rusius, as it prevailed at Seville: “The horse carried his headdrooping, would eat nothing, ran from the eyes, and there was hurried beating of the flanks.The malady was epidemic, and in that year one thousand horses died.”

Six epidemics of influenza are recorded in the fourteenth century, but among animalsnothing more than an epizootic quinsy at Rome, from which Rusius, who reports it, lost fiftyhorses.

We have no distinct evidence of influenza in animals in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries,though in 1510 and 1580-’81, during the prevalence of cattarrhal epidemics in Europe, animalssuffered severely, from what disease is not stated, (Saliua Diversus, Thomas Short.)Solleysel describes an epizootic among the horses of the French army, operating inGermany in 1648, which closely agrees with influenza. It began by fever, great prostration,tears running from the eyes, and a profuse greenish mucous discharge from the nostrils. Theappetite was lost and ears cold. Few recovered. This appears to have closely followed theepidemic influenza of 1647, mentioned by Hensinger.In 1688 influenza was epidemic over the whole of Europe, spreading from east to west. InEngland and Ireland it was immediately preceded by a nasal catarrh, from which horsesuniversally suffered, (Short, Rutty.) In 1693 it again prevailed over the whole of Europe andthe British Isles, attacking first horses, and then, after a short time, men, (Webster, Short,Forster.). In 1698, during an epidemic catarrh in France, cattle and horses suffered from whatwas described as a bilious plague, (Bascom.) The year following influenza prevailed amonghorses in France, and severely among men and horses in England, (Webster.) In America in thesame year horses were first attacked, and afterward men, (Forster.)

The year 1707, remarkable for an eruption of Vesuvius and the upheaval of a new island inthe Ægean Sea, witnessed an epidemic catarrh in Franconia, (Steurlius,) and in England, wherehorses also suffered, (Short.) A similar eruption, with earthquakes, in 1712, coincided with anepidemic and above all an equine influenza, (Laucisi, Kanold.) In the winter of 1727-’28,horses in Great Britain suffered from epidemic catarrh; in Ireland it attacked man a little later,(Rutty.).

In 1732, seven earthquakes occurred in China, followed by pestilential diseases in man andmalignant carbuncular diseases in animals. A little later influenza spread over Europe andAmerica from east to west, (Glugo.) Arbuthnot and others who described it in England remarkedupon the sulphurous vapors pervading the atmosphere, and that men and horses wereattacked successively. Gibson, who furnishes a full description of the affection in the horse,says that it attacked mainly young or ill conditioned animals, and did not prove fatal. In 1736and 1737 it again prevailed in England, attacking men and horses. Short, who records this,mentions an eruption of Vesuvius in the latter year. In 1740, 1742, and 1743 violent sorethroats prevailed in man, horse, and ox, (Huxham, Rutty, Faulkener;) but whether due to influenza is not plain. In 1746 and 1750-’51 catarrh was epizootic among horses in Ireland, (Rutty, Osmer;) in 1758 in Scotland and England, attacking man as well, (Whytt, Bascom;) in1760, after an eruption of Vesuvius, influenza appeared in Great Britain, Ireland, andelsewhere in Europe, attacking first horses, then men, (Bisset, Rutty.) In 1760 it is reported asin Denmark, attacking horses and dogs; and in 1762 in France, Ireland, and other parts ofEurope, among horses and men, (Rutty, Bottain.)

In 1767 it prevailed in Europe, and above all in England, where it attacked first dogs andhorses, then men, (Forster, Iteunsen;) also in America among horses. It carried off almost allthe young horses and colts in New Jersey, and was very ruinous in New England, (Webster.)

In 1776, after a very severe winter and warm summer, with an earthquake in Wales,influenza spread over Europe. Fothergill, Cumming, Glass, Haggarth, and Pultney, in England,and Lorry, in France, noticed that horses and dogs suffered before it attacked human beings.Huzzard speaks of the horses suffering last. Poultry died in great numbers from an epizooticwith defluxions from the eyes. In 1780, after eruptions of Vesuvius and Etna, and a terribleearthquake in Taurus, influenza appeared among horses. Huzzard describes it as seen at Paris.Gluge and Hensinger say that it broke out epidemically in September, 1780, in China, and,spreading over Asia, reached Moscow in December, 1781, gained Revel and Western Prussiain February, 1782, and Spain and Italy in August and September. Forster says it prevailed inAmerica in the spring of 1781, and the following year in Europe. Haveman records an equineinfluenza at the same time in Germany, and Abilgaard leaves a monograph on the disease as itprevailed in the royal stud at Copenhagen. This year was rigorously cold all over Europe. In1798 influenza again prevailed among horses in England, (Wilkinson, White.)

In 1800 influenza was said to have prevailed at Whampon, in China, whence it was believedto extend over Asia, reaching Europe in 1802 and England in January, 1803, (Gluge.) Thoughin some places man alone appears to have suffered, in others horses fell victims as well,(Hensinger.) In 1814 this affection prevailed in horses in Switzerland, (Hensinger,) and 1815,in a malignant form, in England, (Wilkinson, Youatt.) It appeared again in an epizootic form inEngland in 1819, 1823, (Field,) and 1828, (Brown.)

In 1833 it extended over Europe from east to west, attacking men, horses, dogs, and evencats. It prevailed in Courland from January to March, (Possart;) in Pomerania and Saxony inApril, (Rhodes, Prinz;) and in France in May, (Compte Rendu de l’Ecole, Vet. d’Alfort.) InEngland Mr. Hayes describes it as lasting from October, 1832, to March, 1833. It was a“catarrhal fever, joined with inflammation of the lungs and liver and trachea and œsophagusand larynx and pharynx, and the mucous lining membrane of the bowels, frequently with allthe symptoms of malignant catarrh, and these in an aggravated form. In some cases there wasexcessive diarrhœa, the fæces were black liquid mucus, bloody and exceedingly fetid, andaccompanied by such extreme debility that the animal could not move without falling; therewas quick pulse, injected nose, mouth and gums as red and dry as possible, and resembling apiece of lean dry beef. In some there was excessive anasarca; in others phlegmonous tumors indifferent parts of the body; in others again there were spasmodic jerkings and lameness in thelegs, shoulders, and hips.”

In 1834 it is reported in Brandenburg, (Hensinger,) and in 1835 and 1836 in France andEngland, (Prinz, Veterinarian.) In the spring of 1845 it again prevailed in England, and in Julybecame complicated by a severe inflammation of the eyes and dropsies beneath the belly andon the legs. (Veterinarian.) During the great influenza epidemic of 1847, it prevailed extensively among horses in Europe, and was unusually prevalent in England in the two followingyears as well. Since that time it has been especially prevalent in Great Britain, in 1851-’52,1854, 1856-’57, in the early summers of 1862 and 1863, and in the latter part of 1871.

Past history of the influenza of 1872 - According to information received from Professor A.Smith, veterinary surgeon, Toronto, the first cases occurred in the townships of York, Scarboro’,and Markham, about fifteen miles to the north of that city, among the last days ofSeptember. He says, “I think the first cases were noticed among horses running at pasture.”

Cases were seen in the city of Toronto by October 1, and in three days it had attacked nearly allthe horses of the street-cars and livery-stables. On October 18 it was reported as general inMontreal and Quebec and throughout the Dominion.Several Canadian horses were introduced into Detroit on October 10 or 11 suffering fromwhat was supposed to be a catarrh. On arrival they were at once placed in a large stable in thecity, but almost immediately transferred to a smaller one to guard against the possibility ofcontagion. Two days later the disease showed itself in the horses occupying the larger stable,and in three days all of these were attacked. Meanwhile it had appeared in the smaller stable aswell. No other cases are known to have occurred in the city until October 20, and soon afterthis it became general. Two of the imported horses were well enough to work from the first,and were constantly on the streets in the business part of the town.

On October 14 it was reported in Buffalo, New York, and was general by October 21. ByOctober 17 Rochester had half its horses ill, and West Batavia bad been attacked.

On October 19 it existed in Syracuse in newly-arrived Canadian horses; on the 22d onehundred to two hundred were sick in boarding and livery stables, and it spread with greatrapidity in the country around.

As early as October 20 it was reported in Warren County, Pennsylvania; on October 21 atDepauville, Jefferson County, Attica, Wyoming County, and Steuben County, New York, andKeene, New Hampshire. On October 22 at Brooklyn, New York, Jersey City, and Boston. OnOctober 23 it was prevalent at Newburgh and in the country round New York, in the townssituated on the New York Central Railroad, from Syracuse to Albany inclusive; in Hartfordand New Haven, Connecticut; in Block Island, in Providence, and Newport, Rhode Island; inLunenburgh, Vermont; in Bangor, Portland, and Augusta, Maine; in Washington and Carrollton,Ohio, and in Chicago, Illinois. On October 24 Lexington, Sanilac County, Michigan, andBaltimore, Maryland, were affected. On October 25 the first cases appeared in Oswego, NewYork, also in Clarkstown, Buckland County, and in Livingston County, New York; Westfield,Massachusetts; Lewistown, Bethel, Topsham, and South Parsonfield, Maine, (at the latterplace, which is thirty miles from a city, the first case was a horse from a city stable, and a weeklater a colt in the same stable.) It was also reported at Corry, Pennsylvania, at this date. OnOctober 26 it reached Sheridan, Chautauqua County, New York, and Pontiac, Michigan. OnOctober 27 it attacked Glens Falls, Catskill, and Poughkeepsie, New York, and Rockville,Tolland County, Connecticut; in the last case it was supposed from Springfield, Massachusetts.

On October 28 the Watertown street-cars were stopped, and the disease had just appeared atBinghamton, New York, Paterson, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Washington,District of Columbia, October 28; in the last place in sick horses brought from the North.

On October 29 it was announced in Washington county, Vermont; in West Chester County,Port Jervis, and Carmel, New York; at Titusville, Pennsylvania, and Columbus, Ohio.

On October 30 it was reported for the first time in Peekskill and Nyack, New York. On the 31st it appeared in Little Genesee, in Rosendale, and Deposit, and in Ithaca, New York, havingexisted since the 25th in Trumansburgh, ten miles to the northwest of the place last named, andslowly reached Varna, three miles to the east of Ithaca, on November 6. Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania, and New Hope, Pennsylvania, were reached on October 31, the first of theseplaces by five or six horses brought from New York City to the livery stables of Messrs.Moreland and Mitchell; the street-cars had to be stopped on November 5 for the lack of horses.Yet even up to this date Belmont’s horses at Babylon, Long Island, and McDaniels’s atSaratoga, were still reported sound.

On November 1 it reached Kingston, on the west side of the Hudson and WashingtonCounty, New York, attacking first the livery and canal horses, contrary to what occurred atBuffalo, where canal horses escaped until October 22. Is this difference to be accounted for bythe fact that the canal did not extend into Canada?At the same date it was reported at Germantown and Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Cincinnati,Bucyrus, and Etna, Ohio; Romeo, Michigan; Portsmouth and Chuckatuck, Virginia, andNewark, Delaware, starting in the last case with a horse just arrived from Baltimore, Maryland.

On November 2 it appeared at Adams, Massachusetts; on the 4th at Pittsfield; on the 5th atGreat Barrington, and on the 6th at Richmond; all in the Hoosac Valley. On the same date itwas observed at Charleston, South Carolina, in town and country at once.

On November 3 it broke out at Elyria, Ohio, confining itself for five days to teams whichhad been driven to Cleveland; at Goldsborough, North Carolina, and Columbia, South Carolina.

On November 4 it was reported at Springfield, Illinois and in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania,where “it spread like fire along the canal and into the surrounding country.”

On November 5 it was reported in Tioga, Elk, Chester, and Wyoming Counties, Pennsylvania,and at Grand Rapids, Michigan.

On November 6 it reached Cooperstown, Otsego County, New York; Greensburgh,Pennsylvania, and Richmond and Campbell County, Virginia; and on November 7 ButlerCounty, Pennsylvania.

On November 8 it had attacked Montcalm, Livingston, and Ottawa Counties, and Lincolnand Tuscola, Michigan; Ravena, Ohio, and Danville, Virginia, where it prostrated 75 per centof the horses in twenty-four hours.It was reported, November 9, in Hampton, Virginia, and two severe cases at Johnstown,Cambria County, Pennsylvania, where, however, it did not become general till the 24th, so thatthese must be considered questionable.

November 10 it existed in Sandusky, Ohio, on November 11, at Marshall, Michigan, Indianapolis,Indiana, and Savannah, Georgia.November 13 it reached Scranton and Forest County, Pennsylvania, Hamilton and Marion,Ohio, and Wilmington and Tarborough, North Carolina, while it had reached its height atLouisville, Kentucky, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and was merging into dropsical and otherfatal complications in Buffalo, New York, Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia, and Raleigh,North Carolina.

November 14 it existed at Toledo, Ohio, and Lynchburgh, Virginia, and was nearlyuniversal in Buckingham County and at Wheeling, West Virginia. November 15 it wasreported in Mechanicsburg, Grampian Hills, and in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, inDefiance, Ohio, and Madison, Wisconsin.

November 16, in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, and 17th at Cedar Springs, Clinton County,having traveled northward along the Susquehanna River. It had existed to the southeast andwest for several days previously.

November 18 it broke out at Atlanta, Georgia, and Chattanooga, Tennessee. At Nashville,Tennessee, it broke out between the 15th and 20th, and spread slowly, so that exact figures aredifficult to arrive it. At this time it prevailed in Giles, Rutherford, Manry, Davidson, andSumner Counties, at points recently visited by a circus, which came from an infected district.At Memphis, Tennessee, it existed in a mild form on the 19th.

November 21 the street-cars in Augusta, Georgia, were stopped, and the first thirteen casesoccurred at Martha Furnace, Blair County, Pennsylvania.

November 24, fifty horses and muleswere attacked at once at Johnstown, Cambria County, Pennsylvania.

November 27 the street-cars were stopped at Halifax, Nova Scotia, on account of thedisorder; it was reported to be spreading rapidly in New Orleans; and had appeared in Jacksonville,Illinois, Keokuk, Iowa, and Montgomery, Alabama.

November 28 it was reported at Jacksonville, Florida; November 30 it prevailed in FultonCounty, Georgia, and Newberry County South Carolina, making a westward progress.

December 2 it broke out in East Saint Louis, Missouri; December 3, in Boonville, Missouri,and Omaha, Nebraska.December 7 it reached Havana, Cuba, attacking native and northern horses alike. OnDecember 14 it had reached its height, many horses were dying, and Mexican horses werebeing imported by the Spanish government.The outbreak has varied widely in its nature at different places. Sometimes it has spreadslowly along the course of railroads or turnpikes, and its progress can be very satisfactorilyconnected with the intercourse between the different places attacked. In other cases it appears,from the reports, to have struck down a whole city or limited district in twelve or twenty-fourhours, and in a manner which it appears impossible to account for otherwise than by somesubtle and generally pervading influence. The earliest reports of the disease from many pointsallege that colts, mares, and other animals, running at grass, have escaped, but later intelligenceseldom or never fails to report their sickness. So, too, at Scranton and other mining regions inPennsylvania the mules working underground kept well for about six days after those on thesurface were suffering. The majority of the reports testify that animals at grass in mild weatherwere later in being attacked, and suffered less than those in regular work and stabled. Yet somereport that those at pasture and away from all other horses suffered as early and as severely asthose indoors.

The percentage of horses attacked has been variously stated at from 80 to 99. As the reportsare mostly written before the disease has quite passed away, it is probable that the latternumber is nearest the general average.

The fatality appears to have been from 1 to 2 per cent on a general average, though it hasbeen considerably higher than this in some of the larger cities. The highest reported was atFarmingdale, New York, where it was claimed that 10 per cent of the heavy horses had died.This was, however, drawn from too small a number of cases to be of any value as an average.

(This comment marks the end of a series of direct quotes from the "Report of the Commissioner of Agriculture for the year 1872".)

ee also

*2007 Australian Equine influenza outbreak
*Avian influenza
*Canine influenza
*Human influenza

ources and notes


* [http://www.health24.com/Default_old.asp?action=article&ContentID=12347 health24.com]
* [http://195.224.162.216/equiflunet/equiflunet_faq.html Equi Flu Net]

Further reading

* [http://www.horsetalk.co.nz/health/equineflucare-127.shtml Caring for a horse with equine influenza] Horsetalk.co.nz (NZ)
* [http://www.horsetalk.co.nz/health/equineflu-126.shtml Equine flu resources: Q&A, latest news, contacts] Horsetalk.co.nz (NZ)
* [http://veterinaryrecord.bvapublications.com/cgi/content/abstract/133/21/515 Veterinary Record]
* [http://www.aht.org.uk/equine_disease.html Equine Quarterly Disease Surveillance Reports]
*"Horse and Pony Ailments" by Eddie Straiton
* http://books.google.com/books?id=U1lIR14667cC&pg=PA56&lpg=PA56&dq=%22equine+influenza%22+1872+&source=web&ots=5oXmhuevQi&sig=1qZQ_WWthuXkjcLj4zJmSeB7pTI&hl=en


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