A look at the odds associated with the influenza virus

What are the odds you will be one of the unlucky ones who gets the flu this year? Book of Odds has launched "Flu Week," a fascinating look at the odds associated with the influenza virus.

Flu Week will feature six original articles by historian Dr. Kathleen Minnix and physician Dr. Meredith Sorensen, an interview with an infectious disease specialist and a guest blog post by Pulitzer Prize winner, Lawrence Wright.

In addition to providing informative and timely odds statements on the seasonal flu, this series includes an in-depth look at the 1918 "Spanish flu" epidemic, the deadliest in U.S. history, a retrospective on the 1957 "Asian flu" and a humorous look back at the first time the government set out to vaccinate the U.S. population against the H1N1 virus.

Did you know? -- More Wisconsin residents died of the 1918 flu than were killed in World War I, the Korean War and the Vietnam conflict combined. -- In one day at the height of the 1918 outbreak, over 900,000 jars of Vicks VapoRub were sold. -- The use of mustard gas in World War I may have helped turn the virus into an unprecedented killer of U.S. troops. -- A Boy Scout jamboree was one of the breeding grounds for the 1957 flu epidemic. -- As many as 50 million Americans came down with the 1957 flu. -- In 2005, the deadly "Asian flu" virus was mistakenly shipped to unsuspecting labs worldwide.

Flu Week will tell you the odds of getting the flu (1 in 8), the odds of dying from influenza in a year (1 in 345,100), the odds a child will receive a vaccination against the flu (1 in 3.77) and the odds you will dodge the shot because the truth is you're afraid of needles (1 in 4.76).

When: Flu Week will take place November 2-6, 2009

Where: Book of Odds' flu content is available online at: www.bookofodds.com

Why: Book of Odds' mission is to educate readers about risk and how it affects their daily lives. The site is updated daily with new content but will periodically feature themed content releases around major events, issues, or news stories, such as the flu season.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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