Christopher W. Potter: A history of influenza, in: Journal of Applied Microbiology 91 (2001), pp. 572-579.
In this article, the author describes the core data of past influenza epidemics and pandemics.
According to Potter, the history of influenza epidemics and pandemics can be traced with a certain accuracy for the last three hundred years and with less certainty for the time before that. It shows that in most years there have been outbreaks somewhere in the world. For Potter, annual epidemics are due to an antigenic drift. Pandemics, which occur at intervals of 10 to 50 years, are due to new virus subtypes resulting from virus reassortment. Over the last 100 years, nothing has been introduced that could influence the recurring patterns of epidemics and pandemics; and our future in the new century is clearly indicated by our past. This past experience is reviewed in this paper.