Influenza A (H1N1) virus is a subtype of influenza A virus and was the most common cause of human influenza (flu) in 2009. Some strains of H1N1 are endemic in humans and cause a small fraction of all influenza-like illness and a small fraction of all seasonal influenza. H1N1 strains caused a few percent of all human flu infections in 2004–2005. Other strains of H1N1 are endemic in pigs (Swine Influenza) and in birds (Avian Influenza).
In June 2009, the World Health Organization declared the new strain of swine-origin H1N1 as a pandemic. This strain is often called swine flu by the public media. This novel virus spread worldwide and had caused about 17,000 deaths by the start of 2010. On August 10, 2010, the World Health Organization declared the H1N1 influenza pandemic over, saying worldwide flu activity had returned to typical seasonal patterns.
Spanish flu (1918-1920)
Spanish flu, also known as la grippe, La Gripe Española, or La Pesadilla, was an unusually severe and deadly strain of avian influenza, a viral infectious disease, that killed some 50 to 100 million people worldwide over about a year in 1918 and 1919. It is thought to be one of the most deadly pandemics in human history.
Fort Dix outbreak (1976)
In 1976, a novel swine influenza A (H1N1) caused severe respiratory illness in 13 soldiers with 1 death at Fort Dix, New Jersey. The virus was detected only from January 19 to February 9 and did not spread beyond Fort Dix.
Russian flu (1977–1978)
The 1977–1978 Russian flu epidemic was caused by strain Influenza A/USSR/90/77 (H1N1). It infected mostly children and young adults under 23 because a similar strain was prevalent in 1947–57, causing most adults to have substantial immunity. The virus was included in the 1978–1979 influenza vaccine.
Pandemic H1N1 (2009)
In the 2009 flu pandemic, the virus isolated from patients in the United States was found to be made up of genetic elements from four different flu viruses – North American swine influenza, North American avian influenza, human influenza, and swine influenza virus typically found in Asia and Europe – "an unusually mongrelised mix of genetic sequences." This new strain appears to be a result of reassortment of human influenza and swine influenza viruses, in all four different strains of subtype H1N1.