Essay on Causes of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic

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“It killed more people in twenty-four weeks than AIDS has killed in twenty-four years, more in a year than the Black Death killed in a century. – John Barry
Many historians call the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 the deadliest disease outbreak of all time. As many as 100 million people were killed as a direct result of this disease (Taubenberger 1). The Great Pandemic affected everyone, the prosperous and the poor, developed and underdeveloped nations. Entire villages in Alaska were wiped out because of the viral disease (Public Health Service). The Influenza Pandemic of 1918 was caused by World War One, a high volume of immigration, and poor sanitary conditions.
First reports of the virus came in from a small county in Kansas. In
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Medical care was as scarce as clean water. Basic medical care was rudimentary. Describing the situations as “incredibly unhygienic” would be an understatement. War fatalities were the immediate effects of the Great War and the incredible spread of a disease was a later one. As a matter of fact, more people died from the Great Influenza Pandemic than from World War One (Tauenberger1). After World War One, Europe and Asia were in chaos. Many European people were without a home, a job and way of life. Desperate, hundreds of thousands immigrated to more stable and industrialized nations such as the United States of America. From 1915 to 1919, an average of over two-hundred thirty-four thousand immigrants per year came to the United States of America (Cohn 2). A large number of these immigrants came from Europe and were processed at Ellis Island in New York City. Forty percent of all Americans can trace their heritage to Ellis Island (United States Department of the Interior). Ellis Island was so overcrowded with people, the government hurriedly built dormitories, kitchens, and hospitals (United States Department of the Interior). When these people came, they arrived in over-crowded boats from unclean places. Due to widespread disease in the boats, there were many burials at sea. One of these burials quite ironically, was my great-uncle who was four-years-old. Upon arrival, from Italy, my great-aunt was buried. When the immigrants arrived, government
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