The 2009 flu pandemic was an outbreak of a new strain of H1N1 influenza virus, usually referred to as “swine flu“. First described in April 2009, the virus appeared to be a new strain of H1N1 which resulted when a previous triple re-assortment of bird, swine and human flu viruses further combined with a Eurasian pig flu virus. Unlike most strains of influenza, H1N1 does not disproportionately infect adults older than 60 years; this was an unusual and characteristic feature of the H1N1 pandemic.
In an interview with the Wellcome Collection Jerram said.. “At the beginning of the outbreak I was diagnosed with swine flu. It was strange designing the sculpture with a fever whilst swallowing my Tamiflu tablets every few hours. I remember there was a lot of confusion as to whether the virus was going to wipe out a third of the global population. There was lots of different scientific imagery and diagrams flying around in the media. The reason I made the Swine Flu sculpture is because people care about it. What I’m doing is providing an alternative representation of the virus for the public to consider.”
Editions of this work are in the Cosmo Caixa Barcelona and the Wellcome Collection, London.