The Return of a Killer Flu

994 Words4 Pages
Are we prepared for the return of a killer flu? What is a pandemic? Unlike the flu that goes around annually, pandemic flu is much different. A pandemic of influenza (flu) occurs when a new flu virus that is foreign to our bodies spreads around the world, causing serious illness and possibly death. It is highly contagious and can therefore spread easily from one person to another, infecting an entire community in a matter of days. In the past 100 years, we have seen four pandemics—1918, 1957, 1968 and 2009 – The worst of which was the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic which infected 1/3 of the world’s population. What was the impact of the Spanish flu? It was one of the greatest killers mankind has ever known. ‘Spanish flu’ emerged during the First World War – our troops were filling up hospital beds at a time when they should have been filling up battle grounds. The first cases were observed on a small military base in central Kansas, when one soldier developed a fever. Within a limited number of hours, about 100 soldiers had reported to the Fort Riley infirmary protesting with the same complaint. A year later, in 1919, the so-called Spanish flu had become widespread reaching almost every country globally and killing an estimated 50 million people. The disease killed more people than all of the wars of the 20th century combined. Orphaned children roamed the streets desperate for help whilst lifeless bodies piled up in improvised morgues. Coffins were of a limited supply and many
Open Document