CoVid19 coronavirus is not the only Chinese flu

The eastern giant has faced much more serious health complications than the recent pandemic.

Woman with a cold.

China has faced different types of influenza more serious in recent decades. / Photo: Pixabay

LatinAmerican Post | Alberto Castaño Camacho

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Leer en español: El coronavirus CoVid19 no es la única gripa China

Colloquially it is said in economic terms that when "China sneezes, the world gets the flu" and such an assertion does not seem to be so far from reality since the coronavirus made the entire world panic and at the closing of this edition, it already had more than 130,000 infected, most of them in the Asian giant (about 85,000) registering more than 3,600 deaths.

The data is chilling even though the WHO and different media try to downplay the serious situation. Italy is the country in the world with the highest number of deaths registered, exceeding 7,300 infected, but the second country with the most infections is South Korea, with 7,400, regretting 51 deaths to date. Iran follows, where the government has taken desperate measures such as the release of 70,000 prisoners from prisons to prevent spread in detention centers. In that country, there are more than 7,100 infected and 237 deceased people.

However, it is not the first time that China 'sneezes' and gives the world the flu. In 1957 China was the birthplace of another major flu that claimed the lives of approximately one million one hundred thousand people and was known to science as "Influenza A of the H2N2 subtype" or more popularly as the Asian Flu.

The world failed to celebrate the end of the Korean War, when in the Yunan province in the Southeast region of the Asian giant, a virus that commonly inhabits wild ducks mutated with a strain that affects humans and originated one of the most dramatic pandemics of the last century.

Also read: 'Chinophobia' spreads as fast as coronavirus

In the first semester of 1957 this deadly flu had spread throughout Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan and Japan and in just a couple of months it was on the coasts of the United States on the Pacific, causing the death of more than 110 thousand Americans, especially children and teenagers who were returning to school.

This virus, like CoVid19, not coming from any previously described virus subtype, but due to the mutation between normal influenza viruses, had a rapid spread, contagion and usual consequences.

The medical advances of the time allowed the bacterial infections associated with the disease to be controlled, thus preventing it, despite the serious consequences on the number of lives, avoiding a situation like the Spanish flu of 1918, which ended up affecting about 40% of the world population and is recognized as one of the deadliest pandemics in the recent history of humanity.

Also in Southeast Asia around 1968 Hong Kong exported to the world a trail of death with the last pandemic registered in the 20th century, despite the fact that it was not as catastrophic as the previous flu, if the number of people killed is taken into account, it was also a situation of dramatic concern that shook the foundations of the markets worldwide, just as Coronavirus does today.

Interestingly, this global flu outbreak spread in America because of soldiers returning from serving in the Vietnam War to be relieved by new ones.

At that time, the number of deaths varies according to the source consulted, however, everyone agrees that H3N2 fluctuated between 700,000 and one million human losses and that thanks to technological advances it was possible to quickly identify, with much less impact than the previous Chinese pandemic and of course less than the Spanish pandemic of the late second decade of the 20th century.

The data for Latin America, although compared to other countries, is clearly inferior, but they are still worrying as ten countries in the region have reported cases of coronavirus present in their territories: Ecuador, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Chile, Peru , Colombia, Costa Rica and Paraguay.

In Latin America, the first death due to contagion of this 'Chinese sneeze' was recorded in Argentina. At 64 years old, Guillermo Abel Gómez, a patient from France, was hospitalized on February 28 and last Sunday, March 8, he lost his life.

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