One hundred years ago, a novel pandemic influenza virus spread rapidly around the world. It killed about 1 to 2 percent of the human population, primarily young and often healthy adults.

The centennial of the 1918 pandemic is a good time to take stock of how far the world has come since this historic health disaster — and to face the sobering fact that several key mysteries have yet to be resolved.

We and many other researchers around the world have been hard at work uncovering and analyzing old data sitting in dusty libraries, church records and long-forgotten vital statistics books. Together, our team has scoured archives from a number of cities and countries around the world, including in the U.S., Mexico, Chile, Japan and Denmark.

Armed with these data, we can reconstruct epidemics of the past. By understanding the epidemiological patterns associated with the 1918 and other pandemics, we hope that public health officials can better prepare for future health disasters.

Read the full article about unraveling the mysteries of the 1918 flu pandemic at The Conversation.