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Influenza is a viral disease, symptoms are similar to those of a cold, aching muscles, headaches, fever, high temperature but are usually much worse leaving the sufferer bed ridden for several days. In certain individuals such as the elderly, and those with low-immunity the flu can be very serious and lead to pneumonia.

For more information see: http://www.medinfo.co.uk or http://www.cdc.gov web.uct.ac.za

Flu Cross Section

The design below shows a cross section of one of the flu viruses, the 'pins' known as receptors attach themselves to cells in the body. All viruses have a similar construction but it is important to understand the precise structure of each virus in order to develop drugs to combat the disease.

In this sample (below right), silk habotai has been pleated and threads couched between the pleats to give the circular background to the motif.

Design by Anne Griffiths

Made by Filkins and Standlake WI's.

This was eventually stitched without the pleats. Tiny balls were made from purple organza for the centre of the virus and a range of knitting wools were used to represent the receptors.


This panel shows several flu viruses based on an image of the virus under a microscope. It is stitched on a grey scollata background with green organza laid over the top. The flu virus has many receptors represented here by Dorset buttons that enable the virus to attach themselves to cells in the body.

Design by Anne Griffiths

Made by Marcham WI and Botley WI.

This first sample below shows a range of colours and threads being considered for the finished piece. The final piece require over 90 Dorset buttons to be worked!

Influenza Infection

This final image of flu, shows (blue) viruses attaching to the cells of the upper respiratory tract and infecting cells of the trachea.

Viruses floating in the air are breathed in and bind to the hair-like microvilli and cilia on the surface of the cells that line the trachea. They then enter the cells and start to proliferate eventually causing the cells to die and the symptoms of the disease to become apparent.

The textile panel was hand and machined stitched on a silk painted background with applied silk organza.

Design taken from an image curtesy of Wellcome Trust.

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