For some historical perspective on what a SARS pandemic could be like if it is not contained, the influenza pandemic of 1918 is a good place to start.
The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 killed more people than the Great War, known today as World War I (WWI), at somewhere between 20 and 40 million people. It has been cited as the most devastating epidemic in recorded world history. More people died of influenza in a single year than in four-years of the Black Death Bubonic Plague from 1347 to 1351. Known as "Spanish Flu" or "La Grippe" the influenza of 1918-1919 was a global disaster. [The Influenza Pandemic of 1918]
Yes, you read that correctly, 20,000,000 to 40,000,000 people died from that pandemic. Other pertinent quotes:
The flu was most deadly for people ages 20 to 40. This pattern of morbidity was unusual for influenza which is usually a killer of the elderly and young children.
The influenza virus had a profound virulence, with a mortality rate at 2.5% compared to the previous influenza epidemics, which were less than 0.1%.
And yes, 1918 was the year this childs rhyme came on the scene:
I had a little bird, Its name was Enza. I opened the window, And in-flu-enza.
Update: I feel kind of odd that this post has become the number
one result on google when you search for
So, to make this more helpful, if you find any useful links on SARS please leave
them in the comments below, and I will update this story as appropriate. Thanks, -joe