The worst influenza ever known in modern times was ‘the Spanish Flu’ which managed, between January 1918 and December 1920, to infect some 500 million people, of which somewhere between 50 and 100 million mortally. Wiki has the story here. This horrible viral disease, which put life expectancy back by around 12 years during its course, was known as being ‘Spanish’ simply because the Spanish media were not instructed - unlike many other nations still at war - to under-report the pandemic and thus allowed its ravages to hold centre attention.
The version of this which struck Your Servant a century later was a little less relentless, and after nine or ten days there remained nothing that a large meal and a week’s holiday in New Zealand wouldn’t bring right.
I was feeling fairly ill early last week as Walter Drake and I* prepared the editorial for Business over Tapas. Heavy and dizzy. I couldn’t eat and I was to spend most of the following week asleep in bed. I lost four kilos!
There wasn’t much fever and no high temperature. I was told by my nurse to eat Ibuprofeno by the handful (if you are ill, you may not want to follow this course). Indeed, Wiki says that there is no particular cure for el gripe beyond bed-rest. It takes a week to pull round, two weeks for full recovery.
This year’s ’flu is considered a heavy edition and, by this weekend, was responsible for the death of 472 Spaniards.
While there may not be a cure, an ultra-violet light bulb is reported to be a useful anti-viral defence, according to scientists at the University of Columbia. The only problem being that the bulb costs around $1,000 to buy.
One of the joys of surviving the ’flu is the happy knowledge, as one walks about, that while some of you lot may be starting to feel a bit whoozy, Your Servant is in the very peak of health once again (or would be if he could only catch a week’s holiday in New Zealand).
(*An inside joke)