Scientists came up with new discoveries about the flu, viruses and your immune system.
And the discovery is that your year of birth indicates how much you are at risk, that is, which flu may be dangerous for you. It seems that the first flu you had in childhood can ensure protection from similar infections for the rest of your life.
Scientists observed two dangerous types of bird flu, H5N1, and H7N9. It is interesting that they can be found in animals, but with humans today they are very rare.
In fact, there were only about 1500 cases discovered and these were all inhabitants of Asia and the Middle East. Scientists discovered another interesting thing.
The change in the virus occurred in 1968 with the pandemic flu in Hong Kong when the new type of virus eradicated the one that was dominant by then.
People born before 1968 who were probably exposed to the flu virus as children, scientists place in group 1.
As adults, these people are less likely to get seriously ill or die from the H5N1 virus, which belongs to group 1.
But they do get sick from the virus H7N9 from group 2.
People born after 1968 were probably exposed to the virus from group 2 and they showed a reverse trend. Scientists conclude that imprint we received in childhood gives us strong protection against serious infections or death from one of the two main types of flu.
We have good news. If you were born immediately after 1977, it is possible that you have good protection from both types of flu, since in the late seventies and early eighties both types were present.
Scientists believe that precisely because of this process, so many young people died during the Spanish flu pandemic from 1918 to 1919.
Half of the 50 million sick people worldwide, from 20 to 40 years, died. Spanish flu was caused by the flu virus from Group 1, and at the time, young people had protection from the group 2 viruses because they have been exposed to that virus as children, so they were especially vulnerable to the virus that caused the flu.