Viruses in History

Historical Events


The 1918 Flu PandemicThe 1918 Flu Pandemic

1918-10-31 Spanish flu kills 21,000 people in the US in a single week

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1918: A group of Americans in California with a message for their fellow countrymen
1918: A group of Americans in California with a message for their fellow countrymen
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  • 1955-06-10 1st separation of virus into component parts reported

Historic DiscoveryPolio

1955-11-03 Scientists Carlton E. Schwerdt and Fred L. Schaffer announce they have crystallized the pure polio virus, meaning they can better determine the virus' chemical and biological properties

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Children with polio in a US hospital, inside an iron lung. In about 0.5% of cases, patients suffered from paralysis, sometimes resulting in the inability to breathe. More often, limbs would be paralyzed.
Children with polio in a US hospital, inside an iron lung. In about 0.5% of cases, patients suffered from paralysis, sometimes resulting in the inability to breathe. More often, limbs would be paralyzed.
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  • 1955-11-03 First virus crystallized (announced)
  • 1984-04-21 Centers for Disease Cont says virus discovered in France causes AIDS
  • 1984-04-23 AIDS-virus identified as HTLV-III (acquired immune deficiency syndrome)
  • 1995-05-09 Kinshasa, Zaire under quarantine after an outbreak of Ebola virus

PandemicSARS Outbreak

2003-04-23 Beijing closes all schools for two weeks because of the SARS virus

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The SARS virus, known technically as SARS-CoV (coronavirus). First appearing in China in 2002, the disease spread to 29 countries before it was stopped.
The SARS virus, known technically as SARS-CoV (coronavirus). First appearing in China in 2002, the disease spread to 29 countries before it was stopped.
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  • 2005-03-04 United Nations warns that about 90 million Africans could be infected by HIV in the future without further action against the spread of the disease.
  • 2012-08-21 20 people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo die from the Ebola virus
  • 2014-08-12 World Health Organization (WHO) gives its 'cautious blessing' to the use of experimental drugs to treat the Ebola virus
  • 2014-08-24 Nurse William Pooley flies back to the UK for emergency treatment after contracting Ebola virus after attempting to treat patients in Sierra Leone
  • 2014-08-29 Riots break out in Guinea following rumours that health workers are deliberately transmitting the Ebola virus to locals
  • 2014-09-05 World Health Organization estimates 1,900 people have died from the Ebola virus out of 3,500 infected in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone

Event of interestEvent of Interest

2014-09-15 President Obama announces the US will send 3,000 troops to help combat spread of the Ebola virus

44th US President Barack Obama
44th US President
Barack Obama
  • 2014-09-30 A case of Ebola Virus reaches Dallas, Texas

  • 2014-10-09 Gatwick, Heathrow and JFK airports enhance screening for the Ebola virus
  • 2014-10-14 World Health Organization announce Ebola virus death toll at 4,447, and the fatality rate has reached 70%
  • 2016-01-23 Zika virus outbreak in Brazil prompts Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador and Jamaica to recommend women delay pregnancies for up to 2 years
  • 2016-06-09 World Health Organisation advises delaying pregnancy in areas with the Zika virus
  • 2016-11-24 International research team publishes discovery of 1,500 new viruses found in invertebrates
  • 2017-06-05 Puerto Rico declares its Zika virus epidemic over
  • 2017-10-19 Outbreak of the Marburg virus declared by Uganda's Ministry of Health
  • 2018-05-22 Outbreak of Nipah virus confirmed to have killed 10 including a nurse in Kozhikode, India
  • 2018-09-24 Ebola virus has caused 69 deaths and sickened 150 people according to Ministry of Heath in Democratic Republic of Congo
  • 2019-06-11 WHO confirms first case of Ebola virus in Uganda, spread from outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo
  • 2020-04-30 South Korea reports no new domestic cases of COVID-19 for 1st time, their virus cases peaked Feb 29

Event of interestEvent of Interest

2020-04-30 US President Donald Trump claims COVID-19 originated in a lab in Wuhan, while the Office of the Director of National Intelligence saying the virus is not manmade

45th US President, Businessman and TV Personality Donald Trump
45th US President, Businessman and TV Personality
Donald Trump
  • 2020-05-08 Two US White House staffers test positive for COVID-19 and three members of the coronavirus task force go into self-isolation after possible exposure to the virus
  • 2020-10-05 Nobel Prize for Medicine awarded jointly to Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice for the discovery of hepatitis C virus [1]

Famous Birthdays

  • 1851-03-16 Martinus Beijerinck, Dutch microbiologist and botanist (1st to coin the name virus), born in Amsterdam, Netherlands (d. 1931)
  • 1864-10-28 Dmitry Ivanovsky, Russian botanist who discovered the organisms that came to be known as viruses, born in Gdov, Russia (d. 1920)
  • 1904-08-16 Wendell Stanley, American biochemist, first to crystallize a virus (Nobel 1946), born in Ridgeville, Indiana (d. 1971)

Famous Deaths

  • 1920-06-20 Dmitry Ivanovsky, Russian Botanist who discovered the organisms that came to be known as viruses, dies at 55
  • 1931-01-01 Martinus Beijerinck, Dutch microbiologist & botanist (1st to coin the name virus), dies at 79
  • 1994-12-24 Rossano Brazzi, Italian actor (Final Justice, South Pacific, The Barefoot Contessa), dies of a neural virus at 78
  • 2004-07-12 Jean Ruth Adams, American entomologist (insect pathogens and viruses), dies at 75 or 76
  • 2018-03-02 Van McLain [McElvain], American rock guitarist (Shooting Star), dies at 62 from West Nile virus