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June 27, 1977

Influenza Cycles

JAMA. 1977;237(26):2813. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270530021007

To the Editor.—  Kilbourne (237:1225, 1977) refers to possible pandemic influenza cycles of 11 and 68 years. The 68-year cycles antedating 1918 would have occurred in 1510, 1578, 1646, 1714, 1782, and 1850. It is known that an influenza-like disease was epidemic in Europe in 1510, and there was a pandemic in Europe, Africa, and Asia in 1580. An influenza-like illness of low virulence affected New England in 1647. In 1780-1782, influenza affected Europe and Asia. From 1847 to 1852, influenza epidemics that were considered mild occurred in Europe and the Americas. However, Parsons1 indicated an English influenza mortality of 285 and 460 deaths per million population for 1847 and 1848, respectively. Between 1856 and 1889, annual English influenza mortality was less than 100 deaths per million population, usually much less.In 1743, there was a virulent influenza pandemic which may have been as devastating to Britain as the pandemic