Influenza is a virus that's talented at mutating to reproduce and survive. The flu has plagued animal and humankind for centuries. The term influenza comes from the Italian word 'influentia' which referred to the astrological bodies that influenced people's lives, sometimes in agonizing ways, like making them sick with the flu. At the turn of the twentieth century, the Spanish Flu spread throughout the world killing millions of people in its wake. Over half of a million Americans perished due to the Spanish Flu pandemic.
Influenza has hundreds of forms. The virus mutates continually, but virologists place all strains within one of three main groups: type A, B, or C influenza. Type A flu is the most common and prevalent type of influenza and is the culprit for the majority of seasonal flu cases. It infects both humans and animals. Type B flu also causes seasonal sickness. It is only found in humans. Type B flu is typically mild compared to type A, but it can be very harmful to more vulnerable people. Type C only affects humans but is much less severe than the other two.
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