updated 12/17/1997 6:03:00 AM ET 1997-12-17T11:03:00

A flu-type ailment may have been first identified in 400 B.C. It wasn’t until the 15th and 16th centuries, however, that there was clear evidence of its spread among humans. MSNBC’s timeline tracks the spread of viral illnesses to the present.

MSNBC TAKES a look back in time at the history of influenza epidemics around the world.

© 2013 MSNBC Interactive

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