Hong Kong Flu Pandemic

The most recent influenza pandemic occurred in 1968 with the Hong Kong Flu (H3N2) outbreak, which resulted in nearly 34,000 deaths in the United States.

The 1968/69 pandemic, which was milder than 1957, is thought to have caused around 1 million deaths worldwide. In early 1968, the Hong Kong influenza pandemic was first detected in Hong Kong. It then spread worldwide during the following two winters, causing greater morbidity in some countries the first winter and others the second. The first cases in the US were detected as early as September of 1968, but illness did not become widespread in the US until December 1968. Deaths from this virus peaked in December 1968 and January 1969. Those over the age of 65 were most likely to die. The same virus returned a year later, in late 1969 and early 1970 [peaking in the UK in January 1970] and in 1972. The number of deaths between September 1968 and March 1969 for this pandemic was 33,800, making it the mildest pandemic in the 20th century.

The Hong Kong flu was a category 2 flu pandemic whose outbreak in 1968 and 1969 killed an estimated one million people worldwide.It was caused by an H3N2 strain of the influenza A virus, descended from H2N2 through antigenic shift, a genetic process in which genes from multiple subtypes reassorted to form a new virus.