Challenge of dating the flu bug is nothing to sneeze at

12/26/2013 | Popular Science

Most everyone has had at least a minor bout of what is commonly called the flu, but scientists attempting to trace the history of the influenza virus say determining when the first human or animal contracted the disease is tricky. David Morens, of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says the flu can be dated with near certainty to at least the 16th century, while other virologists have traced the flu's genetic components to an earlier pathogen, the salmon anemia virus, which could have affected dinosaurs.

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