Tuesday, December 10, 2013

History of word of influenza

The earliest mention of a condition with clearly flulike symptoms comes from 1173, but the term ‘influenza’ itself was not used until about 1357.

The word influenza is Italian for influence, as in the astral or occult influence of a visitation or outbreak that affects many people at the same time. Italy’s population suffered many plaques and epidemics, because at the time it was a center of trade and travel.

According to one widely reported explanation, the term refers to an ‘influence of the stars.’ As the star aligned on their position, 15th century Italian thinkers believes the positions of celestial bodies influenced the timing of flu outbreaks.

Other account suggest that the illness as caused by an ‘influence del freddo’ an influence of cold weather. 

The French used the term ‘grippe’ to describe a condition strikes quickly and causes sore throat, cough, runny nose, fever, chills and aching joints. The term ‘grippe’ was used in the United States in the earlier years of the 20th century, especially during the 1918 pandemic.

In Britain in 1485, a disease called the ‘English Sweat’ which had many flulike symptoms, killed thousands of people.

In a severe flu outbreak of 1743 the word influenza was applied to the epidemic that began in Italy and spread throughout Europe. The world influenza is believed to have first been used in English in 1743 when it was adopted, with an anglicized pronunciation, during an outbreak of the disease in Europe.

Since then, the influenza, shortened to flu, means a serious infectious disease characterized by muscle and joint aching, prostration, and respiratory congestion with fever and headache.
History of word of influenza

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