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Volume 12, Number 1—January 2006
Etymologia

Etymologia: influenza

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[in′′floo-en′zə]

Acute viral infection of the respiratory tract. From Latin influentia, “to flow into”; in medieval times, intangible fluid given off by stars was believed to affect humans. The Italian influenza referred to any disease outbreak thought to be influenced by stars. In 1743, what Italians called an influenza di catarro (“epidemic of catarrh”) spread across Europe, and the disease came to be known in English as simply “influenza.”

Sources: Dorland’s illustrated medical dictionary. 30th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders; 2003 and Quinion M. World wide words. 1998 Jan 3 [cited 2005 Dec 5]. Available from http://www.worldwidewords.org/topicalwords/tw-inf1.htm

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DOI: 10.3201/eid1201.et1201

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Table of Contents – Volume 12, Number 1—January 2006

Page created: February 16, 2012
Page updated: February 16, 2012
Page reviewed: February 16, 2012
The conclusions, findings, and opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors' affiliated institutions. Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by any of the groups named above.
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