The Spanish Influenza
In 1918 a great influenza, or flu outbreak, killed more than fifty million people. This international flu epidemic kept on spreading, infecting 20% to 40% of the world’s population. More than 20 million people died in less than one year. This influenza outbreak was referred to as “the Spanish flu”.
The flu overtook the world during late 1918. This pandemic infected about one-third of the global population. Some of the first reported cases of the deadly influenza actually came from the United States at Fort Riley, Kansas in March 1918, but the illness quickly showed up all over the world. The United States military played a big role in transporting the virus across the Atlantic Ocean.
The spread of the virus was also contributed by rats and other animals being around food supplies, hospitals, or sleeping quarters. When rats, birds, or insects would become contaminated with the virus they would spread it to other animals and insects. Therefore, the infected animals and insects would travel and get into more food supplies, hospitals, and sleeping quarters. This quickened the spread of the virus. As was mentioned earlier, the virus was the most deadly virus in world history for this reason. The virus, in one year killed more people than the Black Death Bubonic Plague did in four years.
While a new form of influenza strikes annually, the flu of 1918 was very unique. A strange quality of the influenza was its effect on healthy adults. During average epidemics, most of the lives taken are young children and elderly people. However, this influenza virus was distinct.
The fever would affect a person in the following way:
• High fevers, shivers, coughs, muscular pain and sore throat,
• Tiredness and dizzy spells
• Loss of strength to the point of not being able to eat or drink without assistance
• Difficulty in breathing, because the flu caused the body to hemorrhage, so the lungs would fill with liquid and the patient...