In 1918-1919, the worst flu in recorded history occurred, killing an estimated 50 million people worldwide. The U.S. death toll was 675,000 - five times the number of U.S. soldiers killed in World War I. Crazy! This flu was unlike any other, and in infected unlike any other. Not to mention, the progression of this illness was extremely quick. One minute you’re fine and the next you’re suffering from a high-grade fever and lying on your death bed. Unlike the influenza virus that many are familiar with today, this form of the virus targeted -- and killed -- the young and healthy. This to me was an interesting fact as it is more common that viruses affect those who are elderly, pregnant, under the age of five, or suffer from chronic …show more content…
A further piece of information that caught my eye during this video was how motivated, determined, and yet rather desperate they were to create a vaccination. After nearly 80 years, they still wanted and needed a vaccination. I believe this is because they understood that this illness can still be a threat and lurk back up into today’s world much more powerful and deadly. The reason I say they were desperate is because the flu is changing nearly every season and viruses like the avian flu (which they believe the flu of 1918 was a form of) is creeping back up on the radar. It’s in my opinion they were desperate not only to have some closure on such a horrible time in history, but also, to find a vaccine, that if needed, can be used again at later point in time to prevent such an outbreak from happening again. I think it also shows the importance in vaccinations, although many people don’t believe they are necessary. Most importantly, the take-away point for me to always be prepared for both the good and the bad. The people living during that time weren’t necessarily expecting for something so deadly to come through knock out half a million people. (Then again, who wakes up expecting to have a deadly virus come through and take their life?!) Americans were especially not prepared for it as they were already dealing with the war and
In two years between 1918 and 1919, A pandemic of influenza swept mercilessly over the planet, killing millions which stood in its path. Miraculously, the exact origin of the pandemic is unclear. What is exceedingly clear, however, is that often the actions of man aided in the spread of the virus, whether due to inadvertent endangerment, close quarters, religious principles, or failure to recognize the true threat that influenza posed.
The book “The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, written by John M. Barry, covers the progression of the Spanish influenza, especially in the United States. Barry focuses not only on the influenza itself, though, but also on the social influences that allowed the virus to flourish. The book covers how medical practices in the United States had risen up just in time to combat the virus, but, due to societal issues and the war, the doctors struggled in areas where they should have been successful.
The first wave of the 1918 pandemic appeared in San Sebastián, Spain. Within two months, 8 million of Spain’s residents were ill, and the disease had spread on a global scale. Soon it became known as the Spanish flu, because it received the most press there. The other nations had their media tied up with wartime censorship; Spain, a noncombatant, had no such measures in place (Kolata, Flu 9-10). The first wave of the 1918 pandemic appeared in America without much comment. The media was more interested in attention-grabbing news about topics like the war than the rather unremarkable flu. Most people were afflicted with symptoms for a few days before recovering and moving on. The only aspect of the flu that was remarkable was the condition of the lungs from the victims who had died from the flu and pneumonia (Crosby 17-21).
The Spanish flu in World War I was a lot worse and had a way higher death rate than the common flu today. Therefore, they should not even be compared. It is so much different because during war everything was so dirty and everyone was always crammed in the trenches: “World War 1 trenches were dirty, smelly and riddled with disease. For soldiers life in the trenches meant living in fear” (WWI facts). This made it very easy to catch illnesses especially because the flu was so contagious. The symptoms of the Spanish flu were very similar to the symptoms of a common flu: “Normal flu symptoms of fever, nausea, aches and diarrhea” (NPR). Although they were similar is was still way more deadly to have it during World War I. Everyone already had such
In the early 1900’s medicine was making some steps closer into some great improvements for health and better understanding of the human body. Doctors with sufficient knowledge of the human body and cures for diseases and viruses were scarce. People were much more concerned with government and politics, than health and medicine, until one of the greatest and most grotesque lethal pandemics that’s struck the earth in human history. This pandemic the “Spanish Flu” spread so rapidly and had an extremely high mortality rate. This was caused by the close contact of humans and poor cleanliness and sanitation, and the host (virus) and the body taking harsh action
Infectious epidemics and pandemics have happened all through mankind's history. “They remain the prime cause of death worldwide and will not be conquered during our lifetimes.” The flu of 1918 was one of the deadliest epidemics in history. “It infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide–about one-third of the planet’s population at the time–and killed an estimated 20 million to 50 million victims. More than 25 percent of the U.S. population became sick, and some 675,000 Americans died during the pandemic.” No one knew how the virus spread, there were no antibiotics to fight it, and no flu shots to prevent it. In the final year of World War I, it struck terror in the hearts of people all across Europe and left more death in its wake than the combined military actions of the combatants. “It killed more Americans in a few months than World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the
Walking down any given street in the year 1918 between the months of June and December, one would take notice of coffins lining the sidewalks. Nobody was on the streets, and dead bodies were stuffed into every available space. The Flu Epidemic of 1918 not only was the most devastating event of the twentieth century, but propelled the United States to search for a vaccine that has not yet been found, causing concern that the flu will strike again.
The book The Great Influenza by John Barry takes us back to arguably one of the greatest medical disasters in human history, the book focuses on the influenza pandemic which took place in the year 1918. The world was at war in the First World War and with everyone preoccupied with happenings in Europe and winning the war, the influenza pandemic struck when the human race was least ready and most distracted by happenings all over the world. In total the influenza pandemic killed over a hundred million people on a global scale, clearly more than most of the deadliest diseases in modern times. John Barry leaves little to imagination in his book as he gives a vivid description of the influenza pandemic of 1918 and exactly how this pandemic affected the human race. The book clearly outlines the human activities that more or less handed the human race to the influenza on a silver platter. “There was a war on, a war we had to win” (Barry, p.337). An element of focus in the book is the political happenings back at the time not only in the United States of America but also all over the world and how politicians playing politics set the way for perhaps the greatest pandemic in human history to massacre millions of people. The book also takes an evaluator look at the available medical installations and technological proficiencies and how the influenza pandemic has affected medicine all over the world.
The aftermath of this outbreak helped the world learn how to respond to deadly illnesses in an effective manor as well as moved the cause of science forward by striving to find a way to treat this disease. The event lead to the organizations responsible for controlling these outbreaks to grow and develop more proficient ways to battle the flu as well as many other sicknesses. Today, “international organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) provide leadership in global health matters. The WHO’s preparedness plans against influenza pandemics include six levels of pandemic alert, which determine the recommended actions it should take in conjunction with the international community, governments, and industry.6” This expansion has saved millions of lives as now flu vaccines are usually available in most communities as well as treatments for nearly every ailment known. Without these organizations influence the Swine Flu epidemic could have been much more devastating along with the hundreds of other disease that could have wiped out entire populations without the intervention of these groups. The government was also changed by this as they had
Then, in the fall of 1918, influenza struck. People everywhere fell victim to the Spanish flu, dying of uncontrollable hemorrhaging that filled the lungs and caused the patients to drown (Crane 1). Estimates say that approximately 20 to 40 percent of the world’s population became ill, and the worldwide death toll was around 20 to 40 million (“NVPO” 2). Around 675,000 people died in America alone (Crane 5). The Spanish flu struck quickly; you could feel well in the morning, get sick by noon, and be dead by nightfall (“NVPO” 2). The doctors were unable to cure the Spanish flu, so the people resorted to superstitious practices, such as wearing a
Influenza, normally called “the flu”, the influenza virus causes an infection in the respiration tract. Even though the influenza virus can sometimes be compared with the common cold. It also can cause a more severe illness or death. During this past century, pandemics took place in 1918, 1957, and 1968, in all of these cases there where unfortunately many deaths. The “Spanish flu” in 1918, killed approximately half a million people in the United States alone. It killed around 20 million worldwide. The “Asian flu” in 1957, in the United States their 70,000 people died. In 1968 the “Hong-Kong flu” There where 34,000 deaths in the United
The 1918 pandemic was known as the “Spanish Flu” and was Influenza strain A(H1N1) and it caused the highest known influenza death rate known, 500,000 Americans and 20 million people worldwide.
Avian influenza is a disease that has been wreaking havoc on human populations since the 16th century. With the recent outbreak in 1997 of a new H5N1 avian flu subtype, the world has begun preparing for a pandemic by looking upon its past affects. In the 20th Century, the world witnessed three pandemics in the years of 1918, 1957, and 1968. In 1918 no vaccine, antibiotic, or clear recognition of the disease was known. Killing over 40 million in less than a year, the H1N1 strain ingrained a deep and lasting fear of the virus throughout the world. Though 1957 and 1968 brought on milder pandemics, they still killed an estimated 3 million people and presented a new
At no time was a search for the cure for influenza more frantic than after the devastating effects of the pandemic of 1918. The pandemic killed somewhere between twenty and a hundred million people, making it twenty five times more deadly than the ordinary cough and sneeze flu. The symptoms of this flu
In the spring of 1918, the first wave of one of the deadliest influenza pandemics began plaguing its victims (Peters, ix). Over the span of three lethal waves, the pandemic claimed approximately forty million victims, eradicating nearly twenty percent of the entire world’s population, or about one out of five individuals (Peters, ix). To make matters more dire, the ill-suited medical community was exceptionally unprepared for such a wide-scale pandemic: Doctors had very basic tools, knew little about diseases, and had no experience with vaccinations or prevention (Peters, 1-5; “The 1920s: Medicine and Health: Overview”, n.p.). People blindly faced the epidemic, relying on folk remedies such as consuming wine, drinking antiseptic, and